Crowdsourcing creativity

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A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of attending a conference on prediction markets hosted by Inkling, a prediction market platform provider. The first presentation of the day actually had little to do with prediction markets, but still had everything to do with tapping into the wisdom of the crowds. (Or, better yet, the wisdom *in* the crowds.)

Mike Samson, one of the founders of a very cool site called Crowdspring, discussed his efforts to create a marketplace for creativity. Any small business (or large corporation for that matter) can go on the site and post specifications for a project, e.g. designing a logo or building a website, and anyone around the world with internet access can submit entries. Hidden talent seems to crop up in unanticipated places (there was one tale of a janitor winning projects who had no formal training in visual design).

So what does all this have to do with PSD? I asked Mike after the conference whether he had any information about where the "creatives" on Crowdspring come from. ("Creatives" is the term the website uses for anyone who submits creative content through the website.) My guess was that many creatives would hail from emerging markets since creativity is highly labor intensive, and labor is relatively cheap in emerging markets. (Of course, access to this marketplace would be contingent on access to a computer, which would place the sweet spot in middle-income countries.)

Mike was able to share some stats on who has visited the site: "IMF has a list of Emerging/Developing countries and we had visits from 61 of these. Collectively they accounted for over 19% of our traffic and over 14% of our uniques!" The top five countries in terms of traffic were the following: Romania, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Mexico. These stats - along with phenomena like gold-farming in virtual worlds and remote tutoring - make me think that there is a growing trend toward service outsourcing above and beyond official measurements that is largely under the radar.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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