Crowdsourcing is the act of sourcing tasks traditionally performed by specific individuals to a group of people or community (crowd) through an open call. The term “crowdsourcing” was first coined by Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired magazine article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing“. Jeff Howe established that the concept of crowdsourcing depends essentially on the fact that because it is an open call to a group of people, it gathers those who are most fit to perform tasks, solve complex problems and contribute with the most relevant and fresh ideas.
For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task (also known as community-based design or “design by democracy” and distributed participatory design), refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm, or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data
Crowdsourcing is a multi-billion dollar industry and the future of business outsourcing. The possibilities of paid crowdsourcing is limitless for business – creation, organization, invention, research and financing among others. So who are the users of crowdsourcing and its applications?
Here is a good infographic summary on crowdsourcing.