"Crowdsourcing" Champlain: Creating Community Collaboration Through Web 2.0 Tools
How can mission-driven organizations use “crowdsourcing” to their advantage?
That’s the MIND BLOGGING question we begin exploring this week.
A combination of the words “crowd” and “outsourcing,” “crowdsourcing” is an emergent media term that simply refers to tapping into a group’s creative and collaborative potential to help tell a story, solve a problem, or answer a question.
Think the traditional “let’s brainstorm, everyone!” activity supported by emergent media tools and technology and a specific storytelling purpose.
Like most emergent media activities, “crowdsourcing” has both supporters and detractors.
Crowdsourcing’s critics, like the AIGA’s Richard Grefe, rightly point out that “crowdsourcing” can sometimes dilute and even denigrate thoughtful branding and design work. From an economic perspective, too, “crowdsourcing” puts pressure on professional designers from below by tapping the emerging talent or latent skills of amateurs, hobbyists, or design newbies who are often willing to work for free.
Fair enough, and while these concerns are “specific project-dependent,” they are also very real.
On the positive side, meanwhile, “crowdsourcing” is a powerful approach for tapping into a mission-driven organizational community’s collective storytelling mojo, as well as connecting with stakeholders around the world who can’t be in the same physical space, but can share ideas and stories from afar, thanks to the power of Web 2.0.
Here’s how we at HigherMind Mediaworks used “crowdsourcing” in our marketing project with Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.
Champlain hired us @ HigherMind Mediaworks to make a 6 1/2 minute “community engagement video” (we’re working on developing a better term – email us your ideas).
We have our own video production team, but we also wondered how we could tap into the creative ideas of students attending the college, many of whom are studying professional writing, digital filmmaking, and graphic design.
We had another challenge, as well – collecting footage from Champlain College’s study-abroad campuses in Montreal, Canada and Dublin, Ireland.
We decided to host a “Crowdsourcing Champlain” on-campus competition, asking each student group to submit a 1 minute digital video featuring 2-3 elements consistent with our larger video project’s “look and feel,” and we offered some incentive in the form of contest prizes in several categories, including FUNNIEST, MOST CLEVER, MOST MOST PROFESSIONALLY SHOT, MOST CREATIVE SIGNAGE (more on this in a future post) and MOST EXOTIC LOCATION categories.
We also contacted the program directors in Montreal and Dublin, and asked them to share this “crowdsourcing” idea with their students, encouraging them to “Drop Box” us their videos by the project’s shooting deadline date.
Champlain College students submitted some incredibly creative footage – some of higher quality than others, of course – and snippets of several of their videos will find their way into our final project for the college. (Exactly how is still an unknown, as we are in the editing room for another several weeks).
We ended up being very pleased with the storytelling power our crowdsourcing approach allowed us to harness from our Champlain partner’s community.
We’ll share some of the best Champlain College crowdsourcing video projects in future MIND BLOGGING posts.