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Crowdsourcing creative work

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Title: Crowdsourcing creative work  
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Crowdsourcing creative work

Crowdsourcing creative work (CCW) is an open call to the crowd for novel and useful solutions. Crowdsourcing may be appropriate when experts are in scarce supply, multiple diverse ideas and/or contextual insights are needed.


CCW may or may not be technologically enabled. Recent advances in technology have supported greater participation in and new types of crowdsourcing creative work. Advances may create new platforms that draw together participants, or enable new forms of coordination that allows multiple participants to contribute jointly to a creative task.


Creative work spans creative domains such as graphic design, crowdsourcing architecture, apparel design, writing, illustration. Examples of crowdsourced creative work platforms include:


Jeff Howe of Wired Magazine first used the term "Crowdsourcing" in his 2006 article, "The Rise of Crowdsourcing."[1][2] The phrase "crowdsourcing creative work" (CCW) was conceived at the Workshop on Crowdsourcing and Human Computation[3] at CHI 2011.[4]

Creative Work

Tasks may be assigned to individuals or a group and may be categorized as convergent or divergent. An example of a divergent task is generating a large number of designs for a poster. An example of a convergent task is selecting one poster design.


Crowds are motivated to do creative work for both extrinsic and intrinsic reasons. Examples of extrinsic motivators include financial compensation, recognition, and awards. Example of intrinsic motivators include autonomy, relatedness, learning, self-expression, control, and enjoyment. Recently scholars have attempted to use affective computational priming, or embedding stimulus in crowdsourcing platforms to increase creative performance .


Barriers to effective crowdsourcing creative work include social loafing, evaluation apprehension, and production blocking.

Creative performance is informed by domain knowledge, creative thinking skills, problem orientation, and motivation.


Collaboration is defined as people working together on a shared problem. Currently, crowdsourcing creative work often assumes that workers are autonomous, anonymous individuals. However, recent work seeks to bring workers together, provide feedback on each other's work, and experiment with new types of leadership and/or divisions of labor. For example, crowds might design chairs through an evolutionary process: one crowd designs, another evaluates, and another combines highly rated designs to create a new generation of designs.[5]

Open research question:

  • What are the circumstances when the crowd is more creative than the individual expert?
  • What organizational structures support creative work?
  • How is creativity measured?


Crowdsourcing creative work has generated criticism soon after its increase in popularity. The main issue cited is the fact that the designer is working "on speculation" without any guaranteed payout or compensation.[6] There has been enough public outcry over speculative work that AIGA has issued an official position strongly discouraging it, saying that professional designers should be compensated fairly for their work and should negotiate the ownership or use rights of their intellectual and creative property through an engagement with clients.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Howe, Jeff. "The Rise of Crowdsourcing". WIRED Magazine. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Gilmour, Julia. "The Long History of Crowdsourcing – and Why You’re Just Now Hearing About It". Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Structures for Creativity: The crowdsourcing of design by Jeffrey V. Nickerson, Yasuaki Sakamoto, and Lixiu Yu
  6. ^ Howe, Jeff. "Is Crowdsourcing Evil? The Design Community Weighs In". WIRED Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  7. ^

External links

  • Cooks or Cobblers? Crowd Creativity through Combination by Yu, L. and Nickerson, J. V.
  • Affective Computational Priming by Sheena Lewis, Mira Dontcheva, and Elizabeth Gerber
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