What Is Crowdsourcing?A few years ago, Jeff Howe of Wired coined a term for a method of generating workflow that was becoming more and more popular all around him. That term was "crowdsourcing"–a method of outsourcing work to a large group of people or a community of people rather than to individual employees or departments.
This is an old business concept that used to be second nature. Businesses (generally small ones) would enlist the help of the common people on the street to do a task for some reward or pay. This was usually for tasks of menial labor or distribution, and sometimes crowds would gather early in the morning to wait for these requests so that they could earn a living.
Of course, the process is now a bit more complex. Since the term was created and the practice became common knowledge, there have been conferences and organizations built around it to share new ideas and innovations. These include CrowdConf and Crowdsortium.
Usually crowdsourcing is implemented by larger companies that will put out a call for communities or groups of people who are best suited for the position. But individuals or smaller companies can also find ways to utilize this tool. It might even be a great option for non-profits and other groups that are limited in resources and so need all of the targeted (but economical) help that they can get.