What are some potential traps and limitations of crowdsourcing efforts

The renowned American physicist Linus Pauling once observed that “the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” And the growing popularity of a strategy known as crowd sourcing is very much in that spirit. Crowd sourcing is defined as the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call made possible by the wide and instantaneous reach of the Internet. Jeff Howe, one of the first authors to employ the term, contends that crowd sourcing works because open calls to a large undefined group of people attract those who are the most motivated and able to offer relevant and fresh ideas.

In the following, we highlight two contemporary companies that are creatively employing crowd sourcing to address some of their most important objectives. Thread less is an online apparel store co-founded in 2000 by Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart. The founders started with just $1,000 indeed money that they had won in an Internet T-shirt design contest. The company has now grown to be a multi million-dollar enterprise and is revolutionizing the process of product design. While most design shops employ high-priced talent to create their product lines, Thread less uses the crowd sourcing concept to execute an entirely different approach. More specifically, the firm invites anyone interested in being part of the Thread less community to submit T-shirt designs online—afterward, the designs are

put to a public vote. A small percentage of submitted designs are selected for printing and then sold through their online store. Creators of the winning designs receive only a small cash prize and some store credit. In the open-source community, a Thread less T-shirt or design is considered to be crowd sourced because the designer and the company retain all rights to the design. On average, around 1,500 designs compete in any given week. Designers upload their T-shirt designs to the website, where visitors and members of the community score them on a scale of 0 to 5. Each week, the staff selects about 10 designs. Not surprisingly, the printed T-shirts tend to sell well because they have already been proven popular via the design process. Thread less shirts are run in limited batches and when shirts are sold out, customers can request a reprint. However, reprinting occurs only when there is enough demand,

and the decision to reprint is up to the company. The Thread less experience amounts to something of a revolution in product design models and cost efficiency. It is an intriguing example

of the power of crowd sourcing.

Answer :

1. Why is Thread less so successful?

2. What competitive advantages do they have over comparable design firms using traditional strategies for product design?

3. What is the logic of crowd sourcing and why has it caught on in so many areas and for so many applications?

4. What are some potential traps and limitations of crowd sourcing efforts?

5. Identify at least two other businesses, or business functions, that you think could achieve breakthrough gains via the use of crowd sourcing.

Document your citations throughout the text of a 2 – 3 page paper; APA is the accepted format. Your papers must include an introduction and a clear thesis, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Top papers demonstrate a solid understanding of the material and critical thinking.

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