As the social networking era has evolved, more segments of society and industry are tapping into the “wisdom of crowds” to help solve problems and find information. Most recently, businesses have started to participate in this trend by engaging in what some have called “crowdsourcing.” This refers to the business practice of employing the masses to help solve tough R&D problems, develop advertising concepts, test products and conduct other tasks.
An interesting article about crowdsourcing appeared in Inside Innovation, a new publication that appears each month in the print edition of Business Week. (Inside Innovation is also featured on Business Week’s Website. Click here to view it.) In the article, Jessi Hempel discusses the trend and offers businesses thinking about engaging in crowdsourcing some good advice about how to avoid its pitfalls. One key drawback of crowdsourcing is that shoddy ideas and inaccurate information is sometimes highlighted. Crowdsourcing & Healthcare
Although crowdsourcing is a relatively new phenomenon in the business world, it has been going on for a long time in healthcare. For example, people have relied on the masses to help them solve healthcare-related problems or find information by:
- Participating in online bulletin boards
- Reading and contributing to blogs on health topics
- Developing health-focused wikis
As people have turned to the Internet in increasing numbers to find medical information, companies like Google, Healia and Healthline have responded by developing health-focused search engines. Organized Wisdom, LLC has developed a new search engine (www.organizedwisdom.com) that mines content developed by the masses and authorities to help people easily access personalized, accurate healthcare information.
According to a company press release: “[Organized Wisdom.com] is a health-focused social networking site, where consumers, health care professionals, and health organizations can collaborate and share knowledge on more than 6,500 health topics. [It is designed to] improve how people find and share health information by linking trusted, evidence-based information with practical user-generated health advice, ratings and recommendations.”
Clearly, Organized Wisdom.com is still in the early stages of its development. As Pete Cashmore of Mashable.com notes, the Website will become most useful when there is more user-generated content available. Right now, it remains to be seen how popular the site will become and whether people will find it useful. (Shahid Shah who writes the Healthcare IT Guy has more on Organized Wisdom.com. Stay tuned to HealthCareVox for an interview with the company’s co-founder, Unity Stoakes.)
Please click on the following links for more information about crowdsourcing:
- The Rise Of Crowdsourcing: Wired.com
- A blog focusing on the new trend by Jeff Howe, who co-created the term
- Wikipedia article on crowdsourcing