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Crowdsourcing: One Step Beyond by Katia Lobre-Lebraty, Jean-Fabrice Lebraty

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Crowdsourcing: A New Form of Externalization

The goal of this chapter is to explain exactly what is meant by the term “crowdsourcing”. We will discuss various definitions of crowdsourcing and review related concepts such as outsourcing, relationships, and the crowd.

Open source, open innovation, open externalization, or crowdsourcing: where will this trend of organizational opening end? Four factors are at work in this phenomenon: calculation power (computers, smartphone tablets, many other devices); digitized data and information; a universal network protocol (Internet); and, above all, individuals connected to each other. Anderson [AND 12] specifies that in these conditions, elements will circulate and be copied and recopied, as well as sometimes changed. These modifications, made possible by the characteristics of the technology, will enrich the initial element with diverse perspectives and experiences, thus turning it into a new and unique element. Sometimes, however, a modification is no longer just incremental; it becomes a disruptive innovation [DOW 13]. Recall that we define a disruptive or radical innovation1 as the act of offering a product, service or process that is radically new for a given sector. There are many cases of radical innovations, such as the startup Zynga, which is an online games platform that has developed a virtual currency [PET 12]. In our opinion, crowdsourcing as a global phenomenon also constitutes a disruptive innovation.

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