There is power in the data that a crowd can provide — business- and future-shaping data. The final breakout session at Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ‘14 conference in Boston highlighted definitions and examples of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing to achieve a stated social purpose. The following four approaches to big data are exciting experiments in social change driven by the crowd.
Gwen Nguyen, Cause Director at Indiegogo, pointed out that crowdfunding is not a new model (i.e. over 100,000 people donated to the Statue of Liberty in the early 1800s), however the metrics of project validation are even more valuable than ever. Indiegogo leverages social media and ecommerce to democratize funding for everyone. Direct contact with funders allows you to know who your consumers are and engage with them directly during and after a campaign. This model can amplify current philanthropy by testing the appetite for innovation.
From crowdsourcing capital to crowdsourcing solutions, professor Tom Malone of the MIT Climate Co-Lab said he believes that the same methodology of crowd support can be harnessed at an even greater level to solve for large-scale global issues such as climate change. The Climate Co-Lab seeks to provide a platform for thinkers across the globe to present their best ideas for innovations to climate change in the format of a competition. “It is possible to harvest collective intelligence from people across the world to solve major problems,” Malone said.
New Metrics '14!
Reki Hattori, CTO of Datacoup, is on a mission to help individuals reclaim their personal information from data mining — and from being used with no reward for the provider. Datacoup is the first personal data marketplace where people can aggregate, see, and sell their personal data. Consumers’ personal data are a goldmine for companies, and Datacoup believes that people who provide that data should be compensated.
CSRHub CEO Bahar Gidwani told attendees he struggles with the variety of CSR data sources, and bridging that to the solution of focusing that information in one place. “There are millions of companies that we don’t have data on,” he said, so CSRHub focuses on gathering and consolidating corporate ratings data. This is done by mapping, merging, and normalizing data from 333 sources, but the gap in information can be filled through crowdsourcing ratings through other means. Sites such as Glassdoor, Ekobai and WeGreen all have listings, voluntary reviews and company specs that can be mined to create a better overall picture of the state of corporate CSR; CSRHub integrates the data from these and other platforms.
Ultimately, crowd-driven data can bring stronger supply chains, spread best practices, and drive new, innovative applications. Solutions are waiting to be found, and as today’s panel set out to illustrate, leveraging the minds of the world can help effectively provide answers to today’s pressing issues.