"crowdsourcing" entries

On co-creation, contests and crowdsourcing

A portrait of a design contest and what it says about the future of co-creation.

I had decided to update the branding at one of my companies, and that meant re-thinking my logo.

Here’s the old logo:

Original Middleband Group logo

The creative exercise started with a logo design contest posting at 99designs, an online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design.

When it was all done, I had been enveloped by an epic wave of 200 designs from 38 different designers.

It was a flash mob, a virtual meetup constructed for the express purpose of creating a new logo. The system itself was relatively lean, providing just enough “framing” to facilitate rapid iteration, where lots of derivative ideas could be presented, shaped and then re-shaped again.

The bottom line is that based on the primary goal of designing a new logo, I can say without hesitation that the model works.

Not only did the end product manifest as I hoped it would (see below), but the goodness of real-time engagement was intensely stimulating and richly illuminating. At one point, I was maintaining 10 separate conversations with designers spread across the Americas, Asia and Europe. Talk about parallelizing the creative process.

In the end, the project yielded eight worthy logo designs and not one but two contest winners! It was the creative equivalent of a Chakra experience: cathartic, artistic and outcome-driven at the same time.

Read more…

Comments: 26
Four short links: 3 July 2012

Four short links: 3 July 2012

OpenROV Funded, Teen Surprises, Crowdsourced Net Transparency, and Like Humour

  1. OpenROV Funded in 1 Day (Kickstarter) — an open source robotic submarine designed to make underwater exploration possible for everyone. (via BoingBoing)
  2. McAfee Digital Divide Study (PDF) — lots of numbers showing parents are unaware of what their kids do. (via Julie Starr)
  3. Herdict — crowdsourced transparency to reveal who is censoring what online. (via Twitter)
  4. You Really Really Like Me (NY Times) — cute collection of visual riffs on “like” and “tweet this” iconography. I like my humour pixellated.
Four short links: 12 June 2012

Four short links: 12 June 2012

Amazon Royalties Suck, Learn Electronics, Microtasks, and Finance Considered Harmful

  1. Amazon’s Insanely Crap Royalties (Andrew Hyde) — Amazon offers high royalty rate to you, but that’s before a grim hidden “delivery fee”. Check out Andrew’s graph of the different pay rates to the author from each medium.
  2. SparkFun Education — learn electronics from the good folks at SparkFun.
  3. TaskRabbitconnects you with friendly, reliable people right in your neighborhood who can help you get the items on your To-Do list done. Lots of people and projects sniffing around this space of outsourced small tasks, distributed to people via a web site.
  4. Henry Ford on Bootstrapping (Amy Hoy) — Amy has unearthed a fascinating rant by Henry Ford against speculative investment and finance. I determined absolutely that never would I join a company in which finance came before the work or in which bankers or financiers had a part. And further that, if there were no way to get started in the kind of business that I thought could be managed in the interest of the public, then I simply would not get started at all. For my own short experience, together with what I saw going on around me, was quite enough proof that business as a mere money-making game was not worth giving much thought to and was distinctly no place for a man who wanted to accomplish anything. Also it did not seem to me to be the way to make money. I have yet to have it demonstrated that it is the way. For the only foundation of real business is service.

Four short links: 11 June 2012

Four short links: 11 June 2012

Open Source Implants, Gut Fungus, Closed Source Damage, and Microtask Framework

  1. When Code Can Kill or Cure (The Economist) — I’ve linked to the dangers of closed source devices before, but this caught my eye: “In the 1990s we developed an excellent radiation-therapy treatment-planning system and tried to give it away to other clinics,” says Dr Mackie. “But when we were told by the FDA that we should get our software approved, the hospital wasn’t willing to fund it.” He formed a spin-off firm specifically to get FDA approval. It took four years and cost millions of dollars. The software was subsequently sold as a traditional, closed-source product.
  2. Gut Fungus (Wired) — the microbiome of bacteria in your body is being studied, but now researchers have scoured the poop of different species and found different mycological populations in each, and linked them to diseases.
  3. Evaluating the Harm from Closed Source (Eric Raymond) — whether or not you argue with his ethics, you will appreciate the clear description of the things you’re trading off when you choose to use closed source software.
  4. PyBossaa free, open-source, platform for creating and running crowd-sourcing applications that utilise online assistance in performing tasks that require human cognition, knowledge or intelligence such as image classification, transcription, geocoding and more! (via The Open Knowledge Foundation)
Four short links: 7 May 2012

Four short links: 7 May 2012

Democratic Software, Gesturable Objects, Likeable Fashion, and Crowdsourcing Drug Design

  1. Liquid Feedback — MIT-licensed voting software from the Pirate Party. See this Spiegel Online piece about how it is used for more details. (via Tim O’Reilly)
  2. Putting Gestures Into Objects (Ars Technica) — Disney and CMU have a system called Touché, where objects can tell whether they’re being clasped, swiped, pinched, etc. and by how many fingers. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Real-time Facebook ‘likes’ Displayed On Brazilian Fashion Retailer’s Clothes Racks (The Verge) — each hanger has a digital counter reflecting the number of likes.
  4. Foldit Games Next Play: Crowdsourcing Better Drug Design (Nature Blogs) — “We’ve moved beyond just determining structures in nature,” Cooper, who is based at the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science in Seattle, told Nature Medicine. “We’re able to use the game to design brand new therapeutic enzymes.” He says players are now working on the ground-up design of a protein that would act as an inhibitor of the influenza A virus, and he expects to expand the drug development uses of the game to small molecule design within the next year.

Recombinant Research: Breaking open rewards and incentives

Can open data dominate biological science as open source has in software?

To move from a hothouse environment of experimentation to the mainstream of one of the world's most lucrative and tradition-bound industries, Sage Bionetworks must aim for its nucleus: rewards and incentives. Comparisons to open source software and a summary of tasks for Sage Congress.


Recombinant Research: Sage Congress plans for patient engagement

The Vioxx problem is just one instance of the wider malaise afflicting the drug industry. Managers from major pharma companies expressed confidence that they could expand public or "pre-competitive" research in the direction Sage Congress proposed. The sector left to engage is the one that's central to all this work–the public.


Recombinant Research: Sage Congress promotes data sharing in genetics

Report from a movement that believes in open source and open data in science

Through two days of demos, keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions, Sage Congress brought its vision to a high-level cohort of 230 attendees from universities, pharmaceutical companies, government health agencies, and others who can make change in the field.


Steep climb for National Cancer Institute toward open source collaboration

Although a lot of government agencies produce open source software, hardly any develop relationships with a community of outside programmers, testers, and other contributors. NCI sees the advantages of a give-and-take.

Comment: 1
Four short links: 20 March 2012

Four short links: 20 March 2012

jQuery Video Plugin, Open Source Data View, QR Insanity, and Measuring Citizen Science

  1. jPlayer — jQuery plugin for audio and video in HTML5. Dual-licensed MIT and GPL.
  2. Tesseract (Github) — Square has open sourced (Apache license) their Javascript library for filtering large multidimensional datasets in the browser. Tesseract supports extremely fast (<30ms) interaction with coordinated views, even with datasets containing a million or more records; we built it to power analytics for Square Register, allowing merchants to slice and dice their payment history fluidly.
  3. QR Code MadnessI recently received an MMS (multimedia text message) with a picture to a QR code. First, it’s bad enough advertising agencies still randomly text people ads. Second, what am I supposed to scan that with? My eyes? But check out the photo for maximum silliness.
  4. Galaxy Zoo: Crowdsourcing Citizen Scientists (Guardian) — yes, the headline is a collection of buzzwords but the Galaxy Zoo project remains fantastic. My eye was caught by Working 12 hours a day non-stop for a week, [Kevin] Schawinski had managed the not inconsiderable task of detailing the characteristics of 50,000 galaxies. He needed a pint. [… they built Galaxy Zoo in a day of two …] Within 24 hours of it being announced on Lintott’s website, Galaxy Zoo was receiving 70,000 classifications an hour. They still measure their hit-rate in “Kevin weeks” – a unit of 50,000. “Soon after that we were doing many Kevin weeks per hour,” Schawinski says. (via Roger Dennis)
Comment: 1