New space applications supported by open data and crowdsourcing

The European Space Agency is challenging innovators to propose new customer-facing applications that combine two or more space assets to provide commercially sustainable services supported by Open Data and Crowdsourcing.

Do you have an idea?

(SME’s, start-ups and companies that have never worked with ESA before are especially invited to respond)

The misunderstood relationship between Crowdsourcing Platforms and Startups

By Christian Gabriel, Country Manager at, Co-founder at HeartReacher, Boardmember at DanishCrowdsourcing

In recent years startups have started to run more and more crowdsourcing campaigns and as a result the amount of crowdsourcing platforms has never been bigger. However, one could question if startups and platforms understand crowdsourcing or if it has been reduced to brief one-time campaigns?

During the last couple of years there has been increased hype around the possibility for startups to crowdsource resources.  These resources might be funding, workforce, or ideas etc. In most cases companies allocate this activity to a specific online crowdsourcing platform. On the platform companies either submit a campaign visible to the platforms crowd or browse through others submissions on the platform.

As more crowdsourcing platforms appear and an increasing number of campaigns is submitted, the competition is at a boiling point. However, it seems that the accelerated popularity of crowdsourcing has resulted in misconceptions about responsibility between startups and platforms.

Common misconceptions are related to work load and creation of campaign traffic. Crowdsourcing platforms encourage companies to create their own campaign traffic. And startups believe that the platform is paid for creating traction to their campaign. This misconception has resulted in many failed crowdsourcing campaigns and tensions between the startups and platforms.

The question is whether crowdsourcing platforms role is to distribute user traffic to campaigns or to build a new communication channel to companies existing crowd?

The role of the platform and startup relates to the size of the company and the type of platform. Large companies can buy packaged crowdsourcing software which allow them to run crowdsourcing campaigns internally and externally. Larger companies do not necessarily require a platform to distribute traffic to their campaign, as their social reach is already big. Meanwhile, startups use online crowdsourcing platforms because packaged software is expensive and more importantly because they depend on platforms to generate user traffic.

Meanwhile, no platform has the size to create enough traffic for all its campaign to succeed or the tools to keep the audience engaged. The truth is that the increased hype around crowdsourcing, has led to a perception, that platforms are never-ending automatic job, funding, hiring, idea etc. machines. Yes, one of the platforms primary purposes is to initiate interactive contact between a company and a crowd, however the exposure builds on a solid groundwork.  The equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs has published a study stating that crowdfunding campaigns having beforehand raised 30% of their funds from their own network have a 100% chance to succeed. Another study made by Testbirds shows the importance of understanding your crowds’ motivation before crowdsourcing softwaretests on platforms. Meanwhile the infamous Kickstarter campaign Oculus Rift  also proved how a successful campaign can backfire due to a lack of communication with the crowd.

All these examples shows that successful crowdsourcing is building a dedicated crowd and integrating different channels to communicate on specific topics over a long period of time. It’s not a quick and dirty “30 day campaign” as different platforms might state. For any startup to crowdsource it is a basic requirement to have a long term strategy and relation to a “caring crowd” – knowing the people who actually care about the product or service. Platforms should be better at preparing startups for crowdsourcing and offer tools and advice for longterm practices. Meanwhile startups needs to see platforms, as a complementary to an existing crowdsourcing strategy and not as an intense one-time crowdsourcing experience.

Crowdsourcing is still in its early days and long lasting best practices still remains to be seen. However we are already beginning to see the first baby steps of startups having successfully build their company up around crowdsourcing principles and at the same time effectively using crowdsourcing platforms.


CrowdCurity raises $1 million in funding!

CrowdCurity – a company launched in 2013 providing crowdsourced web security. Now they have recently raised $1 million in funding – congratulations!


Show Me the Money!

By Eugene Ivanov, PHD, PMP, Innovation Management Consultant – Demystifying Innovation.

I strongly believe that as an open innovation tool, crowdsourcing has a bright future, but only if it proves its economic worth. In other words, when properly designed and executed, a crowdsourcing campaign should be able to solve a problem in a more cost-effective way than other tools.

This proof, however, doesn’t come easy, as economic analyses of crowdsourcing campaigns, whether successful or not, usually aren’t publicly available. Yet, fortunately, such data do appear in the open time to time–and they’re nothing short of spectacular.

In 2010, Forrester Consulting published a case study describing open innovation program at a large multinational agricultural company Syngenta. The study analyzed the total economic impact and return on investment (ROI) Syngenta had realized by using a crowdsourcing platform provided by InnoCentive, an open innovation intermediary. The Forrester’s analysis identified a number of benefits gained by Syngenta from this cooperation, including cost savings from finding solutions to difficult R&D problems, productivity savings for Syngenta’s researchers and reduction in intellectual property transfer time. The total value of these benefits was estimated at $11,861,688 over three years. Given that the total cost of using InnoCentive services over the same period amounted to $4,200,567, Forrester calculated that a three-year, risk-adjusted ROI for Syngenta was 182%, with a payback period of fewer than two months. Isn’t it cool?

More recently, a piece of data that would make crowdsourcing fans really happy came out of Harvard Medical School. In one of their research projects, HMS scientists employed the MegaBLAST DNA sequencing algorithm with a capacity of processing 100,000 sequences in 260 minutes. This was way too slow, and in order to improve the efficiency of the algorithm, HMS hired a full-time developer with the annual salary of $120,000. The developer did lower the processing time to 47 minutes, a 5.5-fold improvement, but this was still not fast enough. HMS then launched an open innovation contest that ran for two weeks and offered $6,000 in prize money. 733 participants took part in the competition, and 122 of them (representing 69 countries) submitted algorithms. The winning solution was capable of doing the desired job in 16(!) seconds, a 1,000-fold improvement over the MegaBLAST algorithm and a 180-fold improvement over the internal solution. Given a 20-fold difference in costs ($120,000 vs. $6,000), the HMS crowdsourcing campaign was overall 3,600-fold more cost-effective than the internal solution. Let me repeat: 3,600-fold more cost-effective!

However, as I said in the beginning, good things could happen only when a crowdsourcing campaign is well designed and skillfully executed. And here is where the problem with crowdsourcing seems to reside: many organizations simply lack an appropriate expertise. But this is a topic for another conversation.


Crowd Power: A New Way to Solve Health Problems

Claudio Fiocchi, MD, knows how much early detection matters for patients with inflammatory bowel disease. But he also knows today’s diagnostic tools generally


Read about how Cleveland Clinic used crowdsourcing to find a way to detect inflammatory bowel disease more effectively – delaying or even preventing a lifetime of painful symptoms for patients.


Five crowdsourcing trends for business

Crowdsourcing aimed at harnessing creative expertise refers to businesses mobilizing the skills of many individuals in order to identify one or a few high-quality contributions…


Crowdsourcing scholar Thomas Gegenhuber identifies five future trends that managers should be familiar with when asking the crowd to solve creative problems.


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