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Crowdsourcing, a modern business term coined in 2006, is defined by Merriam-Webster as the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers (Wikipedia)

Made from 2 words, crowd and outsourcing. Crowdsourcing, differs from outsourcing, because the work may come from an undefined, unskilled, voluntary public, rather than a commissioned, experienced workers. Since its first inception, crowdsourcing has come a long way from being just a business term, but is now seen as a successful platform for a variety of reasons. I will explain several types of crowdsouring, by giving you examples of projects I have been involved in.

Crowdsourced Knowledge:

Wikipedia is the largest collaboratively knowledge encyclopaedia project, largely written by anonymous volunteers. Anyone, can have access to Wikipedia and contribute. I have previously written a post about my experience of editing Wikipedia here. I felt apprehensive when I first started editing in Wikipedia, but really enjoyed sharing what knowledge and research I had. It is an incredible crowdsourced project, that yes, is subject to flaws and faults but overall, has become the go to place for beginning a research project.


Crowdfunding involves asking a crowd of people to donate money to your project. There are several crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, the Irish FundIt. A crowdfunded project, it usually done through one of these sites, a goal is set, rewards are offered, and within a deadline, 100% of the monies must be raised, or the project fails. I have backed a few projects, on these sites.


  1. Infinite Collision Playing Cards DeckA set of illustrated playing cards designed by 55 independent Bulgarian artists. I love playing cards, and have a collection of about 70 packs of cards, I have collected from when I travel. I began because they were cheap, and every country has them. I though it would be lovely to support this group, and have an original pack of ‘designer’ playing cards.
  2. TexTuring – dithering tool based on natural patternsa customizable dithering software applies Turing patterns to your images, rendering them in diverse, stunning, organic shapes. I don’t know why I backed this project. I liked his information, and the texture that this software will give to images. “I like the idea of a software driven by the graphic design approach, rather that a technical and coding driven response despite the graphic result this provides!”


  1. Re-dress Better Fashion week is organised to highlight better practice in the Fashion Industry. Better fashion is creatively inspiring while being environmentally and socially responsible. I supported this project, because I am very aware of the destructive nature of the fashion industry, from child and cheap labour to chemical dyes polluting rivers. I wanted to support this Irish based project to spread knowledge of fair-trade, fair wage, and environmentally friendly clothing.
  2. Print Block is a studio collective with a difference. In Ireland, there is no access to professional textile print facilities but we are addressing this gap, by establishing a textile printing facility in Dublin with affordable access. I donated to Print Block, because I believe in what they are doing. Creating a communal space, for textile printers to collaborate, share materials, provide a range of educational and outreach services. They have been very successful, and some of their printers, now have a great international reputation.


Crowdsourced Projects:

  • Fundraising:Each year, the International Freeform Fibre Art Guild, (INTFFF), an online group of enthusiastic crocheters,   host an online themed exhibition. This exhibition is then formed into a book, made via Blurb. Blurb, is an online platform for creating, printing, and publishing independent books. The books are then sold, and the monies raised are given to a charity, that is voted upon by members of the group.

Makers Projects:

  • This year, a call out was made for a 1916 project with a difference. 1916 SackvilleStreet, is an art project to remember the 262 civilians that died during the Easter Rising. Its aim was to collect is to “hold an exhibition of houses in any 3D art form commemorating the lives of the ordinary civilians that were killed in the 1916 Easter Rising. 485 people were killed in the Easter Rising 1916, 262 of these were civilians. The objective of the Art Project is to tell their story by constructing 262 art houses representing each of the civilians killed.” The project was the brain child of Ciara O’Keeffe, who wanted to create something extraordinary to commemorate the souls of 1916 Rising. An open call was made and 262 houses were created by artists, hobbyists, schools, women’s groups, etc. A commemorative book, with images and stories behind the civilians and the making of the houses has now been published, with all proceeds going to the Fr Peter McVerry Trust .


There are a huge number of other very interesting crowdsourced projects happening. Mapping projects like OpenStreetMap, software such as Linux, scientific research projects such as Zooniverse and many more. More people are now willing to take an active part in research, fundraising, etc, crowdsourcing is a form of social engagement and active entrepreneurship, which enables you to feel like you are contributing something to society. It is very interesting to see new projects and technologies emerge through crowdsourcing. As reliance on government funding for even vital services, is at an all time low, people are taking matters into their own hands.  Personally, I feel like I am doing my small bit for society. I cannot afford to donate a lot of money, so by giving small amounts to various groups, and to giving my time to edit and make, I am involved in a very modern ideal of the collaborative society.









So, what do you think ?