Crowdsourcing 2.0: Youth's solution for the future

DAILY PROBLEM SOLVING WITH PEERS

The concept of crowdsourcing has infiltrated the way young people behave and approach their day-to-day lives. Crowd-supplied suggestions are a daily occurance, a way of life. Answers to anything and everything are crowdsourced. Young people have naturally adopted the habit of ‘outsourcing’ questions to peers, through questions posed publically on Instagram stories, for example. 

“I wanted to come up with a name for a cat so I just asked Instagram. It was great! There were so many ideas I hadn’t ever considered. Another time I was organising an event for female creatives and asked my followers for suggestions of people doing interesting work. It worked so well.”  - Grace, 23.

Social media influencers have adopted this approach to their brand too, asking followers what kinds of content they would prefer and responding to demand. Why? Because tapping into banks of collective knowledge or expertise saves time. For a time-poor generation who are programmed to expect lightspeed solutions, this is the new Google. It’s easier than ever before and, often, has the best or most innovative results or ideas. Importantly, it also removes any third parties or ‘bigger powers’ with alternate priorities from the equation - peers can be trusted more readily.

HOPEFUL HACKING: CHANGING LIVES 

Crowdsourcing in the modern age has typically been used to offer a service to digitally savvy young customers. Think AirBnB, Just-Eat or Uber. But the concept of modern crowdsourcing has evolved. From the 30 year old who sold shares of himself (crowdsourcing all his big life decisions to voting shareholders) to superfan enthusiasts becoming part of big brand production processes, there are many weird and wonderful examples of how the world of crowdsourcing has adopted beyond our wildest imaginations.

In response to avoidable mortalities due to slow ambulance response times, a crowdsourcing initiative in Jerusalem called United Hatzalah mobilises 5,000 volunteers who have been trained as first responders to provide emergency medical treatment across Israel on motorbikes. “Think of it like Uber” the founder says, “but this is for free and we save lives.” The humanitarian service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Their average response time? 3 minutes. 

In the UK, a collaboration between Deliveroo and the charity Missing People, saw posters of missing people displayed on the backpacks of Deliveroo riders with a telephone number to call if they are seen. Since launching in November 2018, aiming to reunite people in time for Christmas, has reunited three missing people with their families. The 'Ride to Find' app also includes a fundraising feature for people to donate to the cause. 

Rather than solely relying on an individual or a company to affect change, these services successfully merge social and digital networks to enable people to contribute to society. Modern crowdsourcing mentalities have refreshed a sense of possibility for young people. The possibility to problem solve and create alternative, brighter futures. The possibility to change lives. It showcases how, when crowds of people come together, there is huge hope and potential for better outcomes to be realised.

In an increasingly divided world, young people can see value in their connectedness through crowdsourcing. It is not simply a movement, it’s an enabler of the future, empowering young consumers the world over.