This week we’ve been talking all about crowdfunding and crowdsourcing and how they might be able to help our NGO or even us as designers. The first thing is not confusing crowdfunding and crowdsourcing which surprisingly are two completely different things. Crowdfunding is getting the financial backing from investors and people that want to help your cause. While crowdsourcing, Is like outsourcing but its main goal isn’t its cheap cost on labor but being able to outsource things that aren’t in your expertise. Such as coding, translation, etc. It ranges here all based on what expertise your looking for.
Crowdsourcing, I can see why designers would be hesitant about it because you essentially, through crowdsourcing our asking either an individual or group of people to solve a problem that you have with your design/idea or asking people to collaborate with your design/idea which I find, can be a touchy subject. For instance….this teacher and student
Source: http://www.socialsignal.com/tags/crowdsourcing (Rob Cottingham)
Obviously, this individual assignment was not to be crowdsourced. Hahaha
I’d say in terms of a designer if you can use your expertise you should use it but there is nothing wrong with crowdsourcing certain things. I think if you have highly developed your design idea and then crowdsource it to make it either more plausible or stronger. It is still your idea. Which I feel can be blurred for designers because we like to think of ourselves as inventors and ideally we want to be the sole creator of our work. Also, the fear sets in that someone could potentially steal our idea if outsourced, but to create a strong product or brand most of the time we do need some outside help.
In terms of crowdfunding as a designer, I can see why designers would be inclined to do this, most projects need start up money. I feel that as a designer, unless you are designing something that can benefit society as a whole it may be harder to find a big donator or supporters. Not to mention, to attract a big donator and a lot of supporters the designer would need to find a crowdfunding platform that focuses on the transparency of budgets, a highly detailed budget list (because this is where the big spenders go.) Donators/ funders seek crowdfunding platforms and organizations/projects that are reliable. They want to know where their money is going. Which in turn, makes the process for getting your project/organization on one of these platforms a little more complicated as you have to basically prove (with a lot of paperwork) that your worth it! Dat ka$h makes you dance so you got to show them all your moves…hahahaSource: dancing GIFs on Giphy.com
Anyway, so now the pros of crowdsourcing
- Creates a solid/strong product or project
- Easier to find solutions
-Has a link to making crowdfunding from bigger funders more likely (because your idea is solidified by all the expertise)
And now…the cons
-May not feel like your idea anymore (quality change)
-Costs can arise when dealing with outside sources
-Rules/goals of the project (lines can become blurred)
-Outside sources can steal your idea and go elsewhere
Really, the cons are more challenges, most of them can be solved if; from the outset of the project you have a set idea and what you specifically want in terms of the quality of your project, things will tend to go more smoothly; try to pick trusted people so people don’t walk off with your idea (I know is hard, this is the risk); You have to keep good management on the costs of things, keeping track of what NEEDS to be spent (being completely involved/ an active member of spending); You constantly need to within your project set rules and guidelines of the project as more users/experts are added to the project and keep in mind the way you approach certain problems will change in different aspects of the project (circumstances aren’t always the same.)
I think crowdsourcing for designers is a great idea. But it’s a tricky one. I probably would do it in the future.