Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding have an obvious common word: crowd. One gets ideas or services from publics, the other one collect money from the whole society. Both of them are aimed to maximize the use of crowds and gain the benefits for organizers efficiently.
I explored some famous crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Gambicious etc. These crowdfunding platforms got a great success in business investments, especially in creative and games sectors. The flexible conditions offer comfortable basement for the entrepreneurs to achieve their goal. For our NGO with relatively small budget, it is a good choice to do investments. The whole system is flexible and clear, and it’s not that hard to get bonus.
And I also explored a Chinese platform named AngelCrunch which is aimed to seek the angel investors (an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up) for the entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, in China, crowdfunding is not as popular as it in America and Europe, and sometimes it even could be seen as illegal fund-raising. However the advantage is so appealing to both entrepreneurs and business angels that the related departments are setting strict censorship to make sure everything goes along the right side.
It is really hard to say NO to Crowdfunding. No matter individual people or firms would be very welcome to this new way of fund-raising. And also crowdsourcing provide unlimited ideas or services to support people or organizations solving their problems. As our NGO having a large group of members all around the world, crowdsourcing might help them to fix up problems much more efficiently. However, as a designer, “going it alone” and not seeking for help is popular. Actually I can understand, I even agree with this behavior although crowdsourcing has so much appealing advantages. My favorite character in Jin Yong’s (Famous writer in Asia) Kongfu novel is a smart girl. She created the swordsmanship compromising merits of various masters. By using this mixed fencing, she defeated lots of enemies, and got awesome title from her enemies. Seems she could be the greatest one in the novel, unfortunately, she even couldn’t be regarded as the top-ranking heroine. Because the spirit of the fencing is non- unity- based and that leaves cracks to enemies. Therefore, the first place always belongs to the person with trump card, or, rather I might say, people with their own apperceptions on fencing. Likewise, designers are kind of swordsmen, and design is our fencing. Collecting, gathering is not enough, cause creating needs more apperception, observation ability, etc. which should be improved by ourselves. Crowdsourcing might help us to work maturely, to achieve our projects’ goal sooner, but we couldn’t rely on this way to design.
Design is not pure technology or art, it has them both, kind of half science half art. Crowdsourcing may keep our mind be opened, and offer as much information as we want. Also undeniable, crowdsourcing is a very good way to collect materials. These materials might help us to analyze, to get inspiration, but sometimes, these also could confuse designers. We do need the ability of independent thinking and the personal apperception. Unique is designer’s life. That’s why I think crowdsourcing is so wonderful but couldn’t lead us to the top. It makes you good, but not great. Learning from others is important, however, finally you have to create by your own, but not scrap something together.
About Crowdsourcing, designers who participate in as a member of provider might have different opinions. Actually myself used to be the member for couple of times. For the bid itself, it’s equal and high effective. For party B, the designers, the payment could be a problem. On one hand, you can fine more opportunities to get payment., on the other, the payment is always lower than that you should get. For party A, they might be beset by the work quality.
Generally, crowdsourcing is really good for projects. Groups and organizations might get their goals with less time and less money. But for the individual designers, this might be an auxiliary tool, not the final way to use. It’s not about arrogance, but the belief. Stay hungry, stay foolish, and always be unique. How to bring your unique characters to commercial side? Or how to keep your personality stay unique while the commercial issue come into your side? It’s a problem. We all love benefits, we also love our precious ideas. Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding brings a new combination of party A and Party B. It made sense, but still not good enough. However, sharing is irresistible stream, how to find a balance between sharing with crowds and keeping personal apperception is still a challenge to me.