7 Must-Read Crowdsourcing Books

There is no doubt that there is tremendous value in the wisdom of the crowd and companies or non-profit organizations can utilize community-driven approaches in different parts of the value chain. Having said that, you need to get the full picture and read these crowdsourcing books before jumping in the crowd wagon.

The following books can help you achieve just that! From governmental organizations to small and large companies, they feature many case studies and tips to ensure success with your next crowd initiatives.

The Solution Revolution: How Business, Government, and Social Enterprises Are Teaming Up to Solve Society’s Toughest Problems World hunger. Climate change. Crumbling infrastructure. It’s clear that in today’s era of fiscal constraints and political gridlock, we can no longer turn to government alone to tackle these and other towering social problems. What’s required is a new, more collaborative and productive economic system. The Solution Revolution brings hope—revealing just such a burgeoning new economy where players from across the spectrum of business, government, philanthropy, and social enterprise converge to solve big problems and create public value.

By erasing public-private sector boundaries, the solution economy is unlocking trillions of dollars in social benefit and commercial value. Where tough societal problems persist, new problem solvers are crowdfunding, ridesharing, app-developing, or impact-investing to design innovative new solutions for seemingly intractable problems. Providing low-cost health care, fighting poverty, creating renewable energy, and preventing obesity are just a few of the tough challenges that also represent tremendous opportunities for those at the vanguard of this movement. They create markets for social good and trade solutions instead of dollars to fill the gap between what government can provide and what citizens need.

So what drives the solution economy? Who are these new players and how are their roles changing? How can we grow the movement? And how can we participate?

Deloitte’s William D. Eggers and Paul Macmillan answer these questions and more, and they introduce us to the people and organizations driving the revolution—from edgy social enterprises growing at a clip of 15 percent a year, to megafoundations, to Fortune 500 companies delivering social good on the path to profit. Recyclebank, RelayRides, and LivingGoods are just a few of the innovative organizations you’ll read about in this book.

Government cannot handle alone the huge challenges facing our global society—and it shouldn’t. We need a different economic paradigm that can flexibly draw on resources, combine efforts, and create value, while improving the lives of citizens. The Solution Revolution shows the way.

Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving Successful organizations are constantly searching for new ideas. Historically, organizations have looked to their employees and select partners. They have used techniques like brainstorming to gather and evaluate ideas. However, in today’s market, talent and new ideas can be found everywhere.

The Internet has enabled organizations to greatly expand their searches far beyond their four walls. Instead of ten or one hundred people, organizations from startups to Fortunate 500 firms can work with thousands or tens of thousands to discover and assess many, many more ideas (as well as prototypes, partners and people). We call this Crowdstorming.

But how do you organize so many people and ideas to get the best results?

The goal is to help the readers make Crowdstorming work; to help more organizations engage with people far beyond their organizational borders, to find better ideas, solutions, talent and partners so we can address some of our most challenging problems — not just for the sake of business, but for our society, too.

  • Shaun Abrahamson has spent more than a decade as an early stage investor and advisor partnering with leading startups and global organizations to identify, create and launch new businesses enabled by newly possible relationships with customers and experts.
    Peter Ryder is the former President of jovoto and has broad experience as a consultant helping organizations improve their business through the use of new technologies.
  • Bastian Unterberg is the founder and CEO of jovoto, a Berlin and NYC based firms that organizes a 40,000 person strong creative community to work with global brands on problems ranging from new product design to sustainable architecture.

The Crowdsourced Performance Review: How to Use the Power of Social Recognition to Transform Employee Performance Today’s most successful companies are transforming their predictable “one-way” review processes into dynamic, collaborative systems that apply the latest social technologies. Instead of a one-time annual evaluation of performance, managers and employees receive collective feedback from everyone across their company. It’s all achieved through crowdsourcing, and it generates more accurate, actionable results than traditional methods.

With The Crowdsourced Performance Review, you’ll create a review system that gathers the feedback of many, so you can make better, more informed decisions. And this new model is simpler than you think.

The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation Online communities provide a wide range of opportunities for supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or building open source software. The Art of Community helps you recruit members, motivate them, and manage them as active participants. Author Jono Bacon offers experiences and observations from his 14-year effort to build and manage communities, including his current position as manager for Ubuntu.

Discover how your community can become a reliable support network, a valuable source of new ideas, and a powerful marketing force. This expanded edition shows you how to keep community projects on track, make use of social media, and organize collaborative events. Interviews with 12 community management leaders, including Linus Torvalds, Tim O’Reilly, and Mike Shinoda, provide useful insights.

  • Develop specific objectives and goals for building your community
  • Build processes to help contributors perform tasks, work together, and share successes
  • Provide tools and infrastructure that enable members to work quickly
  • Create buzz around your community to get more people involved
  • Harness social media to broadcast information, collaborate, and get feedback
  • Use several techniques to track progress on community goals
  • Identify and manage conflict, such as dealing with divisive personalities

Getting Results From Crowds: The definitive guide to using crowdsourcing to grow your business Build your business by tapping one of the most powerful trends in business today: Crowdsourcing.

Getting Results From Crowds provides practical, pragmatic, clear guidance on how you can draw on the power of crowds to grow your business. Filled with real-life case studies and useful examples, it gives you everything you need to know to create success in a world where talent can be anywhere.

The Wisdom of Crowds In this fascinating book, New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea: Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant–better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

With boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture, psychology, ant biology, behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, military history, and politics to show how this simple idea offers important lessons for how we live our lives, select our leaders, run our companies, and think about our world.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations A revelatory examination of how the wildfirelike spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them, with profound long-term economic and social effects-for good and for ill.

A handful of kite hobbyists scattered around the world find each other online and collaborate on the most radical improvement in kite design in decades. A midwestern professor of Middle Eastern history starts a blog after 9/11 that becomes essential reading for journalists covering the Iraq war. Activists use the Internet and e-mail to bring offensive comments made by Trent Lott and Don Imus to a wide public and hound them from their positions.

A few people find that a world-class online encyclopedia created entirely by volunteers and open for editing by anyone, a wiki, is not an impractical idea. Jihadi groups trade inspiration and instruction and showcase terrorist atrocities to the world, entirely online. A wide group of unrelated people swarms to a Web site about the theft of a cell phone and ultimately goads the New York City police to take action, leading to the culprit’s arrest.

With accelerating velocity, our age’s new technologies of social networking are evolving, and evolving us, into new groups doing new things in new ways, and old and new groups alike doing the old things better and more easily. You don’t have to have a MySpace page to know that the times they are a changin’. Hierarchical structures that exist to manage the work of groups are seeing their raisons d’tre swiftly eroded by the rising technological tide. Business models are being destroyed, transformed, born at dizzying speeds, and the larger social impact is profound.

One of the culture’s wisest observers of the transformational power of the new forms of tech-enabled social interaction is Clay Shirky, and Here Comes Everybody is his marvelous reckoning with the ramifications of all this on what we do and who we are. Like Lawrence Lessig on the effect of new technology on regimes of cultural creation, Shirky’s assessment of the impact of new technology on the nature and use of groups is marvelously broad minded, lucid, and penetrating; it integrates the views of a number of other thinkers across a broad range of disciplines with his own pioneering work to provide a holistic framework for understanding the opportunities and the threats to the existing order that these new, spontaneous networks of social interaction represent. Wikinomics, yes, but also wikigovernment, wikiculture, wikievery imaginable interest group, including the far from savory. A revolution in social organization has commenced, and Clay Shirky is its brilliant chronicler.

Photo credit: JD Hancock / Foter / CC BY

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