Why Crowds Are The Future of Business

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‘Crowdsourcing’ and global work will become central to US business and society says Ross Dawson, author of new book on how businesses can get results from crowds

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Getting Results From Crowds

“The shift to global work is not a problem for the US, it is a massive opportunity. The future of the economy depends on us embracing crowdsourcing. Companies must get good at creating value with crowds.”

American companies will soon hire millions of designers, coders, writers, marketers, and other skilled people from all over the world, says Ross Dawson, co-author of the just-released book Getting Results From Crowds: The definitive guide to using crowd-sourcing to grow your business.

“The shift to global work is not a problem for the US, it is a massive opportunity. The future of the economy depends on us embracing crowdsourcing. Companies must get good at creating value with crowds.”

‘Crowdsourcing’ describes how companies tap the collective capabilities of experts around the world, ranging from small businesses engaging overseas coders and designers through to multinationals such as IBM and Procter & Gamble drawing on many external contributors to generate the innovation that drives their success.

More than 75% of the US workforce is in the service sector. As bandwidth soars, high value services can be done anywhere on the globe, exposing almost all US workers to both competition and new opportunities, and fundamentally changing the way businesses operate.

Dawson, chairman of think-tank Future Exploration Network and globally recognized as a leading futurist, points to six key issues:

  •     Service marketplaces such as oDesk, Elance, and Freelancer.com have already brokered over $1 billion of skilled work, much of it from US companies to international workers. In order to survive, be competitive and build success, small and mid-sized companies need to draw on global talent. However it is not easy to do well, so a clear guidebook to using crowds can be extremely valuable.
  •     In a world driven by innovation, those companies that can successfully tap the power of crowds to drive ‘open innovation’ will have an immense advantage over those that rely on internal ideas and skills. Dell, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Google, and Netflix are among the many leaders that have embraced innovation from crowds.
  •     Crowdfunding (funding ventures through many small contributions) allows entrepreneurs to build valuable companies where they could not before. In addition to the many creative successes that have been funded by crowd donations, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act has just passed Congress to allow crowdfunding for equity. This has the potential to transform the entrepreneurial landscape, but companies need to understand how to crowdfund effectively.
  •     Businesses large and small have driven efficiencies and built new businesses by tapping sometimes many thousands of workers on platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and CrowdFlower. “Companies need to create new structures and roles to deal with external workers,” says Dawson. “Building capabilities at project management and quality assurance will help companies seize the opportunity of distributed work.”
  •     There is an ethical debate about whether to hire locally or globally. Cost, quality, and contribution to local communities are among the many factors. “The reality is every business today encounters global competition and must tap the best talent wherever it is,” says Dawson. In addition, giving valuable and challenging work to people in developing countries is arguably the best way to help them participate in the global economy and create opportunities beyond working in sweatshops.
  •     Crowds will be at the center of the future of work and organizations, as we see a shift to freelancing and independent work and far higher use of external talent by businesses. Individuals must develop the collaborative skills and companies must adopt 'crowd business models' that will drive success in a very different world of work.

See the Getting Results From Crowds website (http://www.resultsfromcrowds.com) for free chapters, crowd business models frameworks, and other resources.

Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and bestselling author. He is chairman of three companies, including leading international think-tank Future Exploration Network.

His prescient books include Living Networks, which anticipated social networks, micro-blogging, and the rise of crowdsourcing years before Facebook, Twitter, oDesk, or Freelancer.com existed. His frequent keynote speeches have covered six continents, and his clients include world-leading companies such as Ernst & Young, IBM, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble.

As a highly influential – as well as entertaining – futurist and commentator, Dawson’s insights have been frequently featured in CNN, ABC TV, USA Today, New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Guardian, and many other leading business media.


To arrange an interview with Ross Dawson or to request a review copy of getting results from crowds please contact us:

1-415 315 9566

What global business leaders are saying about getting results from crowds:
“Ross Dawson and Steve Bynghall have masterfully delivered a comprehensive and strategically pragmatic guide to crowdsourcing. This is the must read bible for effective crowdsourcing.”

  • R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst & CEO, Constellation Research

“Ross’s latest book is a fantastic guide for businesses looking to access skills and drive innovation through crowdsourcing. I highly recommend it.”

  • Peter Williams, CEO, Deloitte Digital

“Ross Dawson, the “crowd king”, provides with Getting Results from Crowds a comprehensive and up to date review of how to make crowds work for you!”

  • Matt Barrie, CEO, Freelancer.com

“A must-read for anyone looking to easily and cost-effectively leverage skills from around the world.”

  • Davy Adams, Managing Director, IDG Australia

“To make the most of the different crowdsourcing options available for your business grab a copy of ‘Getting Results from Crowds’ – it will pay for itself many times over!”

  • Mark Harbottle, Founder, 99designs.com

Dawson’s book will help you maximise the wisdom, creativity and value you extract from the crowd. Buy this book. Harness the crowd. Supercharge your business.”

  • Alec Lynch, Founder, DesignCrowd.com

“This is the smartest, most practical overview of crowdsourcing I’ve seen (and I think I’ve seen them all).”

  • Lukas Biewald, CEO, CrowdFlower

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Ross Dawson
Future Exploration Network
(415) 315 9566
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