Crowdsourcing is the method of sourcing a solution from a crowd, community or social network as opposed to a single contractor with the understanding that the wisdom of the crowd is greater than the wisdom of the individual.
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As an example South African snack-food giant Simba produced a website called Lekkerflavour, which asked Simba customers to come up with new flavours of chips for the brand. The response was huge – people submitted flavours, voted on submissions and they were able to really get involved and feel a sense of ownership of the brand, while Simba received valuable media attention, market research and ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas. This is crowdsourcing at its best.
Springleap has plenty of experience at crowdsourcing. Every two weeks it hosts a design competition with a R4000 (about US$500) prize plus royalties. Artists from all over the world submit their T-shirt designs and the community votes to choose a winner, helping separate the wheat from the chaff. The concept appears to have shown some success — last year Springleap won the SA eCommerce awards and the year before that came 2nd at the Innovation 100 Awards in Cali.
But now via Evly.com, the founders have their sights set on loftier goals than fashion design. Nick Rixon, the CSO explains: “Any organisation will be able to create stand-alone websites or even link from its existing website and harness the power of results-focused communities on the Evly platform.”
At its core, the founders say Evly will be a social network with a purpose.
Co-founder Eran Eyal explains: “Social networks that are just about discussion require a lot of fuel and most of these conversations (and thus the sites) fizzle. With crowdsourcing, there is a massive stickiness to the sites — people have something to do. There’s a constant reason to be there — this helps to sustain the community as well as its growth. Crowdsourcing takes a social network and asks what are we here to solve and how can we do it together?”
The service functions much like a group or fan page found on most social network websites, however provides users with their own unique website and the ability to grow a network based around a particular interest or need. By setting up a research-based website on Evly a business or person can conduct research with minimal capital outlay.
“Gathering large and diverse sample groups has never been faster and easier,” the site claims.
The site will provide advanced crowdsourcing and social networking features which will enable website owners to manage and grow their own community.
“The social web is no longer going to be about idle chatter on a platform populated by reactive users. Evly.com is about a world of PRO-active website creators and community members constantly looking to solve new problems and build solutions in an environment saturated by the right tools,” says Eyal.
The founders say the site will provide tools that enable users and large brands to achieve “community engagement” — the ability to source answers to any possible question, fundraising for various ventures, and the gathering of market research through analysis of comments, feedback and voting.
The initiative falls under the umbrella of CrowdTech — a newly-created holding company for Springleap.com, evly.com and eKomi.co.za.
CEO of CrowdTech, Eric Edelstein, reckons the future web will be “centred on goals, objectives, purposes and challenges”.
“Evly.com allows interaction with a purpose rather than people just interacting for the sake of it! Companies and individuals from all across the globe are now beginning to see that they can solve problems by tapping into a larger knowledge base, at a fraction of the price and in a much shorter time through the Internet.”
The site is offering three levels of service:
Level 1: Starter – Individuals and companies can set up crowdsourcing websites and pose challenges for free.
Level 2: Customisation – Building on from Level 1, the first premium model of evly will give the website owner more control over the design and branding of their website. Website owners will be able to create a fully-customised website.
Level 3: Independence – Will afford website owners the option to remove themselves from the evly network. Website owners will also have 100% custom branding, as well as ownership of all member information.