Retrospective: Crowdsourcing Week Global 2015

The 3rd annual Crowdsourcing Week Global (CSW Global 2015) took place in Genexis Theatre, Singapore, over the course of four days from 21 April 2015. With the year’s overarching theme of “Crowd Economy: Disrupting Billion Dollar Industries and Empowering Billions”, it saw the exchange of international insights pertaining to disruptive transformations, technological innovations, growth and market opportunities driven by crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and the crowd economy.

Conference highlights were classified into four categories: Breakthrough, Hot Topic, Colab and Accelerate, and there were different themes for each day. While all the sessions took place on the main stage, the intensive line-up was enough to keep the crowd on their feet – be it to participate in a number of interactive activities, such as finding out people with the same birthdays, and/or catch the speakers right off the stage to take the discussions further.

The first day’s “Business Meets Crowds: The Billion Dollar Opportunity” brought together hundreds of delegates and crowd economy influencers and thought leaders from countries such as Singapore, Japan, Philippines, USA, UK, India, Belgium, and Canada.

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Shelley Kuipers of Better Ventures, Reinaldo Pamponet of ItsNOON, Roland Harwood of 100% Open, and Erica Van Lieven of Direction First facilitated the four special sessions. Wikibrands kicked off the sessions with insights into the 2015 global economy pulsecheck, terming the year to have a “massive adoption”.

Other interesting moments occurred when the panel discussion for corporate innovation through crowdsourcing turned into a platform of the leaders to exchange their thoughts on the individual ego, independent contribution and governmental role.

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Harwood provided one of the biggest takeaways when he surmised it as: “The sooner you strip an idea from an individual and open it to the crowd for independent contribution, there will be progress.”

Digital humanitarians were called to attention with QatarComputing, when Dr Patrick Meier said, “If you can click ‘like’ on a Facebook photo, you can be a digital humanitarian.” This does open up another door to the possibility of crowdsourcing; where volume can meet purpose to advance action. Zooppa, who explained why the power of the crowd trumps isolated ideas, also covered this when determining the shift in culture ­– from a “downloading culture to an uploading culture.”

The direction for the second day was scaled up to include “Collaborative Cities and Society: Empowering Billions”. Freelancer got the ball rolling with insights into the evolving working structures, especially for the newer generations (eg. freelancers), and this was particularly interesting when juxtaposed with Rappler’s session on journalism’s new role in the crowd economy.

“Today with the crowd and transparency, now is a wonderful time to be a journalist,” said Maria Ressa, who then went on to share how a journalist can thrive in the climate today. The opportunities are infinite with the crowd and this movement wasn’t just in Silicon Valley – it is going global.

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 Ideas over “crowdsourcing” platforms became apparent in the later part of the day. Airbnb quickly picked the pace up with their presence, citing their impact on society as a factor of the price elasticity pertaining to reputation ­– in fact, for Asia Airbnb hosts, the money from crowdsourced logings play a much bigger role in the whole picture. With them, Cambodian hosts are able to send 3 kids to school and pay rent charging $49 per night for their rooms. Check out their live crowdchat sessions here!

Along with financial insights from the third day’s theme of “Crowdfunding and the Crowd Finance Revolution”, the rest of the CSW Global conference spanned to include a Startup Workshop on the last day, where pitching and development sessions were in store for the chosen startups, and the year’s Young Achievers Program.

At the end of the day, to crowdsource or not to crowdsource? It wholly depends on your situation, with the deciding factor playing on the economical aspects towards startup businesses. As Paul Niederer, the CEO of ASSOB, called it: “At the end of the day, people run the business.”