I recently returned from Singapore after attending the 3rd Annual #CSWGlobal15 Conference. The conference was held at the Genexis Theater within the Fusionopolis research and development complex that houses research organizations, high-tech companies and government agencies. It was an impressive location easily accessed by the airbnb flat I rented in Holland Village, just two train stops from the event.
I met Crowdsourcing Week’s founder, Epirot Ludvik Nekaj before he relocated from New York City to Singapore a little over three years ago to launch this global conference. We had the opportunity to meet while attending some of the same Meetup events in New York City and eventually became friends and colleagues. My interest in the crowdeconomy, crowdsourcing and crowdlabor has grown ever since. If you have similar interest then you’ll want to attend one of Crowdsourcing Week’s future conferences.
The conference mission is the following:
“Crowdsourcing Week is committed to help organizations transition into a more open, connected, and socially productive society. We focus on how crowdsourcing can address the needs of today’s leaders to bring about meaningful change. Our big, ambitious goal is to get everyone thinking about collaborating with their stakeholders to create shared value.”
The overriding theme of the conference was “Crowd Economy: Disrupting Billion Dollar Industries and Empowering Billions.” Sean Moffitt’s presentation kicked off the Crowdsourcing Week event. During Mr. Moffitt’s presentation, we learned that according to the 2015 Global Crowd Economy Survey, the biggest industries being disrupted over the next 3 years by the crowd include: #1 Finance and Banking, #2 Non-Profits and Causes, #3 Technology and Software, #4 Art and Design and #5 Publishing, Communications and Media.
The finance and banking sector has seen Peer to Peer (P2P) lenders and crowdfinancing platforms entering their market to compete. Companies like Prosper.com and crypto-currencies such as Transpay and Bitcoin have been making the headlines in tech blogs and major news publications. According to the Crowdsourcing Week audience and some of the presenters at the conference, this sector may be the most disrupted sector in the near future due to an ongoing feeling of dissatisfaction of banks by the general public. Banks and financial institutions are perfect targets for disrupting and making irrelevant. One benefit of using P2P financing and crypto-currencies is that transaction fees are reduced and/or eliminated. These technologies are attractive to the everyday consumer and business owners.
Another highlight of the conference included a presentation by Freeelancer.com’s VP of Growth, Willix Halim. He succinctly illustrated how the physical is being taken over by software. For example, paperback books (physical) to Kindle readers (software), telephones (physical) to Skype (software), scrap books (physical) to Pinterest (software), paper maps (physical) to Google Maps (software), CD players (physical) to Spotify (software), job fairs (physical) to Freelancer.com (software), classroom education (physical) to Udacity (software), well you get the point. Just about everything physical is being created into a software version as well as becoming mobile. The examples are endless and startups continue to innovate in this area of Software as a Service (SaaS).
Willix Halim of Freelancer.com
During the conference we learned that crowd, crowdfunding and crowdfinancing platforms have been growing at a rapid pace. Everyday there are new crowd platforms being developed to provide labor, help fund a new products, causes or even real estate developments. Some of the other crowd platforms discussed at the conference include; ASSOB, Pozible, Freelancer, RealCrowd, iFunding, Planeta.ru, Zooppa, and eYeka.
Big brands have been using crowdsourcing and open innovation for years including Lego, Coca Cola, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble and Nestle for video production, design services, contests and surveys for new product ideas. The crowd can deliver more creativity and content than one advertising agency or one video production company. The crowd is also cost effective in the sense that you can obtain many ideas or designs from one contest than you ever could from one vendor. It should be noted that the more conscious crowd platforms assure that the crowd is rewarded for continued participation in contests and task completion.
View of Singapore Marina Bay
One final area of interest from the conference was the disruption of traditional education with software technologies such as Khan Academy, edX, Udacity and Coursera. Some at the conference strongly believed that in the future we will only have a handful of brick and mortar educational institutions because it will no longer be efficient or cost effective to deliver educational content in this manner. At the present moment, educational loans are the biggest burden felt by recent college graduates and it does not have to be that way with online education. The cost can be cut dramatically by delivering the content via mobile device or desktop. How wonderful would it be to have high quality, low or no cost education accessed by WIFI?
Guess what, it’s already here and growing!