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The Power of the Crowd in Crowdsourcing: Who They Are and How They Drive Innovation

BY GINA SPARROW | 4 min read

The power of collaboration is undeniable, and in the world of crowdsourcing, the "crowd" is a diverse group of individuals who bring unique backgrounds, experiences, and expertise to the table. Whether they are employees, customers, enthusiasts, or volunteers, the goal is to harness the collective intelligence and creativity of this group to generate innovative ideas and tackle complex challenges. But who exactly makes up this crowd, and how can you effectively engage with them to drive innovation forward? In this article, we'll explore the answers to these questions and more.


Who Are The Top Innovators In The Crowd Right Now?

The beauty of crowdsourcing is that it allows anyone, anywhere in the world to come together to solve complex problems and create innovative solutions. As long as there is connectivity, there can be crowdsourcing. As a result, there are countless innovators who are driving change and pushing the boundaries of what's possible, including the creation of new opportunities in this democratized landscape of participation.


One notable innovator in the crowdsourcing space is Luis von Ahn, the founder of reCAPTCHA and Duolingo. He is known for his work in developing innovative solutions that leverage the power of the crowd, such as using CAPTCHAs to digitize books and creating a language-learning platform that relies on user-generated content.


Another prominent figure in the crowdsourcing space is Jeff Howe, the author who coined the term "crowdsourcing" in his 2006 article for Wired magazine. He continues to be a thought leader in the field, and has written extensively on the topic of how crowdsourcing is transforming industries and society.


A (temporarily) lesser-known star innovator is Hugo Shelley - HeroX's most decorated Innovator - with 6 prizes under his belt and more to come we are sure. NASA calls him a 'star solver'.  Hugo is a product designer from Scotland and the founder of Iota Technology, a prototyping studio in London. Most of his time is spent trying to find realistic solutions to impossible projects. When he's not helping people build their dream products, he spends his time-solving innovation challenges and trying to stop his houseboat from slowly sinking into the river. 


And lastly, we can shine the spotlight on Boyan Slat, who at 17 came up with the concept for a boon to remove plastics from the ocean. Now 28, the Dutch inventor and entrepreneur is the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup - an organization set to put itself out of business, with the goal of removing 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.


Of course, there are countless other innovators in the crowd who are making an impact in various fields, from technology to social activism. The power of crowdsourcing lies in the fact that anyone can contribute and be a part of the innovation process, regardless of their background or experience.


The Uncredentialied Crowd

In traditional settings, priority is often given to those with specialized knowledge or credentials, limiting the pool of ideas and perspectives. Crowdsourcing, however, welcomes the "uncredentialed crowd" — individuals lacking formal credentials but possessing unique experiences, perspectives and skills.


This diversity allows companies and organizations to access a broader range of innovative ideas and solutions. Crowdsourcing platforms like HeroX provide opportunities for anyone to participate in solving critical problems and contributing to groundbreaking innovations, irrespective of their background or credentials.


The democratization of opportunity in crowdsourcing is a key advantage, with the potential to significantly impact industries and communities. By removing barriers to participation, crowdsourcing incorporates those who may have been overlooked or excluded by traditional systems, including individuals from underrepresented groups, emerging economies and those without formal credentials or connections.


This democratization holds the potential to level the playing field and create a more equitable and diverse innovation ecosystem. By tapping into the crowd's collective intelligence and creativity, innovative solutions that may have otherwise gone undiscovered become an everyday discovery.


How Do I Join The Crowd?

Joining the crowd can be a great way to share your skills, expertise, and creativity with others to solve important problems and drive innovation. It can also become a great new revenue stream! 

Here are some steps to get started:


  1. Find a crowdsourcing platform: There are several crowdsourcing platforms available online, including HeroX, Topcoder, and InnoCentive. Explore different platforms and find one that matches your interests and skills.
  2. Create a profile: Once you find a platform, create a profile to showcase your skills and expertise. This will help potential collaborators and employers find you.
  3. Browse challenges: Crowdsourcing platforms host a variety of challenges in different fields, from engineering and technology to design and art. Browse challenges and find ones that match your skills and interests.
  4. Join a team: Many crowdsourcing challenges are collaborative, so you can join a team of like-minded individuals to work on a challenge together. This can be a great way to network and learn from others.
  5. Participate in challenges: Once you find a challenge, participate by submitting your ideas or solutions. Don't be afraid to share your unique perspective and creativity – this is what makes crowdsourcing so powerful!

By following these steps, you can join the crowd and start contributing to crowdsourcing projects that drive innovation and change. 


Crowdsourcing has become a powerful tool for innovation and problem-solving. From generating fresh ideas to overcoming complex challenges, the crowd has proven to be an invaluable resource for businesses, organizations, and individuals alike. By understanding who the crowd is, how to reach them, and why they matter, you can unlock new opportunities for growth and success. So, don't hesitate to embrace the power of crowdsourcing and see where it can take you!

Excited, But Unsure How To Begin?? Start by sharing your audacious goal with the HeroX Possibilities team. No obligation. Education first.


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