There was an interesting debate on The Guardian titled 'Beneficiaries-led development: can assistance be crowdsourced?' by Anna Scott. The focus of the debate is how crowdsourcing can be used by aid groups seeking to help in developing countries.
The conversation takes part in the comments section, which off course everyone knows is where the 'good stuff' can be found on the Guardian site. While the comments section is great for getting into flame wars with strangers, it's a bit rubbish for managing a debate. Still if you trawl through and look closely enough there are insights worth considering.
To my mind the key insights from the debate are:
- Watch your language. (i.e. stop calling these people beneficiaries). While this is not directly relevant to crowd sourcing, it is a good point. When I first saw the article I assumed it was about getting people on the dole into crowdsourcing. It's not, it's about beneficiaries of aid and development. The general consensus was that beneficiaries' is a lousy term to use.
- Data privacy. i.e. Who owns the data?
- Don't forget about off line. i.e. Not everyone is online.
- Remember the Four Golden Rules
- Do they care about the issue
- Do they feel they can change the issue
- Do they feel its "easy" to get involved
- Do they feel that their efforts will be noticed