Engaging crowd in order to achieve ones goal is indeed great idea, whether you’re looking of a product, service or funds. You watch other people uniting in order to help you with your purpose. At the same time you are given feedback on your product or idea. That is how small entrepreneurs enter the market. Personally I find this idea very appealing but I cannot resist the impression that it might have many disadvantages.
Biggest benefit of crowdsourcing is the fact that various people bring in their money, knowledge, experience or simply effort. Therefor e different views on the project are brought to attention. Due to development of online network we are able to connect to more and more people, thus creating larger communities.
As for design I’d say that disadvantage of crowdsourcing is the fact that this is a sort of cheap labor, which is more likely to result in less credible product comparing it to the ones offered by hired professionals. On the other hand crowdsourcing is less expensive than hiring an expensive designer and it allows many new designer to gain recognition on the market and in many cases it offers many people willing to work anytime. My friend is a great fan of graphic design, yet he never expected to do anything more professional about it, but entering the contest for logo he was discovered and in the end he found a job designing posters.
Crowdsourcing does not assure you finding the solution to your problem or the support you’d excepted, moreover you might be criticized, not in a constructive way as you must include the human factor in your project and people are not always as helpful as you’d wish. It is also difficult to engage collaboration between crowd members as they compete with each other in nature. What is important there’s no contract in most crowdsourcing cases, so people are more likely not to treat it with full devotion.
I haven’t had much experience with the crowdsourcing and funding. But during this project I gained deeper insight in online crowdsourcing pages, such as Kickstarter or the Globalgiving proved to be successful. What is also common for this websites it that you have to share some percentage of gathered amount, moreover there is often the system called “ all or nothing”, which means that either you raise the amount you planned in given time or you don’t get anything at all. Search for support for your projects online requires much effort and involvement, for example for Globalgiving you have to provide many documents concerning various matters.