Conceptual model of crowdsourcing and crowdsourcing processCrowdsourcing is a term defined by Jeff Howe as the act of outsourcing a job or project to the unidentified individual or a group of people rather than working on the project internally. It can also be referred to as the act of engaging the crowd or the general public to solve specific tasks. (Howe, 2006)Conceptual modelling help supports the communication and interaction between developers and users, promote domain understanding, guide the development and design of a database and applications and provide legal document system requirements. Due to the development of existence of conceptual models, there is an increase in effectiveness and efficiency in development and design of better IS systems. The major role of conceptual modelling is to facilitate communication between the analysts and users.
It also allows increased interaction between users and stakeholders. (Lukyanenko, R. and Parsons, J., 2012)The conceptual model was developed for guiding future studies of crowdsourcing by use of the following components:1. Problem2.
Process 3. Governance 4. Technology (People, crowd, individuals and problem owner)5. Outcome Fig 1. Conceptual Model of CrowdsourcingProblemProblem is considered the heart of crowdsourcing. It is a condition that creates work and desire for achievement or ending condition. It brings groups and individuals with the desire to solve a common problem so as to meet the goals of a project.
A problem incorporates all the problem types in crowdsourcing such as crowdfunding, co-creation, crowd wisdom, crowd creation and crowd voting. Process These are all actions that have to be undertaken by all actors in crowdsourcing so as to solve a particular problem or achieve a certain goal. The process is the step by step action taken to solve a crowdsourcing problem. The process involves parties such as the owner of the problem and the crowd or individual working on the problem. The interaction between the owner and the crowd may be determined by the complexity of the problem in terms of whether the problem can be solved internally or outsourced. For example, simple projects which are referred to as closed problems require little input from the participants and require a simple process design while Open problems require a more interaction, collaboration and time from the participants as well as a complex process design. (Lukyanenko, R. and Parsons, J.
, 2012)GovernanceThese are the actions and techniques used to manage a crowd and steer them towards the desired goal. Lack of governance in crowdsourcing can lead to incomplete projects and lack of collaboration hindering the main goal of crowdsourcing which is goal oriented. Though simple projects may be self-governed complex projects will require more governance and improved governing strategy. No project can be a success either complex or simple with minimal or lack of governance. For governance to be easier it is necessary that the governing body uses mechanism such as simplifies tasks by diving them for a positive outcome, for effective and efficient process they should decompose and distribute tasks, motivating their crowd for example through giving feedback leads to motivation and contributes to excellent outcome, to increase the credibility and of ideas and solutions quality control is necessary during a project due to the amount of input collected. (Lukyanenko, R.
and Parsons, J., 2012)People The problem owner is the group or entity with the problem that needs to be solved. The individuals interact with the problem owners to provide solutions to their problem. The crowd is considered as a separate entity when individuals work collectively and collaboratively. Under this section people, there are three separate entities namely problem owner, crowd and individual who contributed to the input and output of the process who are considered as stakeholders. (Lukyanenko, R.
and Parsons, J., 2012)a) Problem owner is the entity that requires the problem solved which can be either an agency, business, individual or the government. The problem owner controls almost everything in the crowdsourcing process since they define the problem, lay down the process to be followed, communicate what is needed and expected of the process to the crowd, they evaluate the submissions, they determine the process that should be followed and select the best solution to their problem. Crowdsourcing is used by different problem owners for different purposes, for example, a government seeking information from the community on how to improve their services, project developments and infrastructures among others. b) Individual- The key to successful crowdsourcing is attracting and retaining individual participants. It is important to understand what motivates your users so as to elevate the attraction and retention process. There different categories of motivation that can be used to motivate the user.
They can either be either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is when there is a tangible benefit to the users for their participation such as a payoff where else Intrinsic motivation can be referred to rewards that are not tangible for participation such as social interactions, enjoyment, fun among others. c) Crowd is formed by a group of individuals working on a crowdsourcing problem. They provide know-how for collaboration between users by establishing trust between members, developing shared understanding, ensuring privacy is maintained and establishing trust between members. The collaboration will vary from project to project since some project require minimal or no support from members while other complex projects require collaboration from crowd members. (Pedersen, J.
, Kocsis, D., Tripathi, A., Tarrell, A., Weerakoon, A., Tahmasbi, N.
, Xiong, J., Deng, W., Oh, O.
and de Vreede, G.J., 2013)Technology Technology is the conceptual model that enable or facilitate the formation of a crowd and form a base for interaction between individuals, users and collaborators and the definitive solution for any crowdsourcing. The specifics differ with the problem. It is the framework for a successful crowdsourcing where different problems or projects are solved for example the existence of Web 2.0 which has led to a vast rise in social media platforms and applications such as crowdsourcing.
The growth of Web 2.0 and internet have led to the growth in crowdsourcing since all projects are accessed online and has led to increased interaction and collaboration between the different parties in crowdsourcing is easier and fast. (Lukyanenko, R. and Parsons, J., 2012)Outcome This is usually the final conceptual model element that refers to the final product of crowdsourcing process.
It is the solution to the problem the owner wanted to be solved and how both the problem owner and the participants feel about the final product. The outcome can be categorized as a factual outcome and perceptual outcome. A factual outcome is considered as the diversity of the opinions presented, quality of inputs from the different individuals, creativity displayed, the diversity of opinions showcased and the final solution.
The perceptual outcome refers to individuals and owner satisfaction after the crowdsourcing process among other self-feelings an individual or the problem owner would have towards crowdsourcing. (Lukyanenko, R. and Parsons, J., 2012) Crowdsourcing Process Open innovation has been accepted widely going against the innovation races, off-shoring and falling prices. It has led to decrease in transaction cost, development in information and communication, led to the popularity of the internet and has enabled global distribution of information generations such as Wikipedia, Flickr, Twitter among others. Many companies have adopted crowdsourcing for their own profit through utilizing the innovative tools that enable integration of knowledge from a large number of contributors and volunteers into the internal innovation progression.(Muhdi, L., Daiber, M.
, Friesike, S. and Boutellier, R., 2011)There are five phases of the crowdsourcing process namely: i.
Deliberation phase- This is the initial period of the crowdsourcing process which begins once a company or organization makes a decision to adopt the crowdsourcing approach. This is the phase where companies need to evaluate approaches that meet their needs and that can help solve their internal problems. ii. Preparation phase-This begins when the company has established a contract with an arbitrator for the crowdsourcing process. It outlines the essential groundwork that must be accomplished prior to the commencement of the online idea generation.
iii. Execution phase-This phase commences when the crowdsourcing question is posted online so that it is visible to the crowdsourcing community. The community members are then encouraged to post their ideas and any questions regarding the question or projected posted. This phase ends when the question is taken down or is removed from the crowdsourcing platform.
iv. Assessment phase-This phase begins once the question is taken offline and the idea generation concluded. On this phase, the best idea is selected and rated and then rewarded. Since there many ideas generated it is important to use an evaluation tool for evaluation. v.
Post-processing phase-This is the final or the last phase which only begins when the final idea has been selected and rewarded. Most of the companies participating in this role aim at the overall results of their project or the future projects. (Muhdi, L., Daiber, M.
, Friesike, S. and Boutellier, R., 2011)Fig 2. Five phases of Crowdsourcing process Fig 3. Five phases and the important tasks in the Crowdsourcing Process Crowdsourcing is one of the major ways of organizing labor because firms and organizations are able to assign work to a community (online community) where they pay for anyone within the crowd that completes the task successfully and meeting the firm’s set expectations.
Most companies have adopted the crowdsourcing method for marketing, research and product development. Crowdsourcing is also the only way to get projects done fast without using too much of resources. (Whitla, P., 2009)