Micro-sourcing: The Next Big Thing?

Prof. Evgeny Káganer shares findings with Paris alumni

18/10/2011

More than 50 IESE alumni and friends in Paris had the chance to hear Prof. Evgeny Káganer's insights on the future of crowdsourcing, and particularly microsourcing, during a Continuous Education session held at the Association France-Amériques this week. Prof. Káganer discussed the implications of industrial crowdsourcing for both businesses and employees.

To open his session, Prof. Kaganer distinguished between traditional crowdsourcing platforms, such as Wikipedia, and microsourcing platforms, such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk, which offer service-based solutions. At a basic level, microsourcing platforms connect companies or "buyers" looking to outsource a task with a large group of Internet users or "sellers."

Although crowdsourcing is not a new internet phenomenon, its acceptance by the business community has been hindered by a lack of awareness, a widespread reluctance to trust strangers, and an inability to control quality. However, the many innovative solutions developed by several crowdsourcing platforms have led Káganer to conclude that crowdsourcing is finally ready to become the "next big thing," he said.

Numerous platforms have disregarded the traditional cloak of anonymity surrounding sellers, recognizing that companies appreciate transparency when outsourcing. Crowdspring and TopCoder, two microsourcing platforms, control quality through supplier redundancy, which is created by their contest-like environment. All sellers submit their entry to the buyer for consideration, while only the best receives payment. The changes within microsourcing have led to increased participation by firms, and microsourcing seems poised to revolutionize the business environment. Ultimately, integrity will play a critical role in the success of microsourcing on a widespread level, he said.