Back in the late 90s, technology was not as advanced as it is today. However, mining company Goldcorp was clever enough to rely on open source software to develop what many experts consider a prime example of crowdsourcing.
Rob McEwen, CEO of Goldcorp, was inspired by Linux and its code-free operating system, which was available to developers all over the world. Inspired by the democratization of technology, McEwen proposed the idea of releasing all geological data from one of its most complex projects: a gold mine in Canada that was expected to hold significant gold deposits.
By 2000, the Goldcorp Challenge was a reality. With a cash prize of 575,000$ dollars, people from all over the world were encouraged to take a look at all the geological data from 1984 in order to try and find where the gold might be. Participants from different backgrounds participated in the challenge, which actually yielded four winning solutions out of the best five proposals.
The rest, as they say, is history. Goldcorp is now worth around 10$ billion dollars, 100 times its 1999 value. In the beginning, business purists and geologists were outraged. In the end, they all had to admit that crowdsourcing had significantly advanced the entire process. That is why we always discuss the importance of an open doors approach to innovation.
For those who joined the challenge, the effort was also worth it. Not only did four of the teams make a lot of money, but they were also able to engage in an exciting competition where they developed new skills while still keeping their regular jobs. Crowdsourcing thus becomes a freelancing opportunity, but also a career-building and a money-making solution.
Do you want to ‘find gold’ too?