Crowdsourcing and the Third Sector: Beyond Hype and Myth


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Crowdsourcing and the Third Sector: Beyond Hype and Myth

  1. 1. Beyond Hype & Myth:Crowdsourcing and the Third Sector Elric Honoré Doctoral Candidate Centre of Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (C-GAP) Centre for Public Services Research University of Edinburgh Business School Email: v.e.honore(at)
  2. 2. Background: researching * Philanthropy?2. goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare  Q: ‘what is goodwill? who says? What are the boundaries? how is this justified?’3. act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes  Q: ‘who should give? what and in which manner? how much is enough?’• organisation(s)distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes  Q: is this the ‘Third Sector’? which organisations to study? what’s new? *(Merriam-Webster, 2011)
  3. 3. Background: researching ‘New’ Philanthropy?• Philanthropic Intermediary Organisations (PIOs):  More than coordinating platforms: market-makers (Pharoah, 2007)  Shaping donor-intermediary relationships (Daly, 2011; Ostrander, 2007)• Typical forms: • Subsector detailed information & analyses: Guidestar, New Philanthropy Capital • Online advice and brokerage: Investing for Good • Online giving platforms: GlobalGiving, Buzzbnk • Donor advice/portfolio planning: wise • Total client management: Geneva Global • Social investment funds: Venture Philanthropy Partners • Donor networking: The Funding Network • Etc etc etc• Buzzword(2010-): Crowdfunding • Pioneers: Kiva, Buzzbnk(UK), SoLoCo(Scotland) • Precursors: The Funding Network, Giving Circles UK
  4. 4. (business) ContestsMicrotasks Crowd- funding Macrotasks
  5. 5. Crowdsourcing (academia)• Buzzword/Etymology:  Crowd + outsourcing• Parent Field / Roots:  ‘Open’ Innovation (e.g. Chesbourgh, 2003; von Hippel, 2005; Chesbourgh et al, 2008) • Definition (Howe , 2006:5):  ‘the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call’  ‘This can take the form of peer-production (when the job is performed collaboratively), but is also often undertaken by sole individuals. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and the large network of potential laborers’ [my emphasis]
  6. 6. Hype  Crowdsourcing: •Vehicle for reciprocity and citizenship (‘Power from the people’, - Microtask, 4th April 2012) •Alludes to horizontal collectivism (The Wisdom of Crowds, Surowiecki,2004)  Crowdfunding: •Establishes whether there is market demand for an idea […], you can go straight to the market and get an answer, cheaply and quickly’ (‘How crowdfunding can kickstart the Big Society’, - Telegraph, 12th May 2012)From :Philanthropy and Social Media (Institute of Philanthropy, 2011)
  7. 7. Myth‘A new medium of human communications is emerging, one thatmay prove to surpass all previous revolutions — the printing press,the telephone, the television, the computer— in its impact on oureconomic and social life’ (Tapscott 1996:xiii)‘A society built around information tends to produce more of thetwo things people value most in a modern democracy—freedomand equality. Freedom of choice has exploded, in everything fromcable channels to low-cost shopping outlets to friends met on theInternet. Hierarchies of all sorts, political and corporate, have comeunder pressure and begun to crumble’ (Fukuyama 1999: 4) Implied Myth: ‘Cyberspace will end history and politics’ (Mosco, 2004:53) Creative Potential?
  8. 8. The Net: From IS/HCI theory to Social Artefact1961: Kleinrock’s thesis on packet-switching theory  1st concept of redundancy for network resilience1962: Baran’s ‘On Distributed Communications’…1963-2012: ARPANET; USE/BIT/NSFNETS/Internets  RIP Minitel Now:  Rise of Network Society (Castells, 1996)  The ‘Information Age’ (Benkler, 2006)  The Social Network, Bookface, etc
  9. 9. •Some Stats:  32.7% of world population online; 528% growth rate over past decade  84.1% of UK population; 49% on Facebook (Internet World Stats, 25/06/2012)  82.6% in Scotland (ONS,Q1-2012)•More (disturbing) Stats:  ‘Googling’ becomes verb (Merriam-webster, 2006)  ~75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of search results – (, 2010)  >90% of UK searches via Google (Don’t be evil) This computer
  10. 10. So what? – policy & practiceGiving Green Paper (Cabinet Office, 2010):Crowdfunding/p2p: Promoting online lending platforms such as Zopa, IndiGoGoand Sponsume, etc Support for individual fundraising/giving platformsJustgiving or micro-volunteering/marketplaces sites such Encouraging localised ‘out of the loop’ platformsTimebanking, Freecycle etcCrowdsourcing: YourFreedom (2010) Red Tape Challenge (2010) NHS Patient Feedback Challenge (2012) Big Society?
  11. 11. Analogy – IS & Social Networks Baran (1962)
  12. 12. Crowdsourcing & the Third Sector• Nothing new:  Networked/peer-to-peer nature of the voluntary sector  Contribution to public services innovation3. Double edged-sword:  Bypasses conventional/centralised processes  But requires a ‘healthy network’ (redundancy)• One question:  Are markets suited to do more than distribute and allocate funds?  i.e. Deciding what & not only how?
  13. 13. Questions, Suggestions & Feedback? Thank You