There is quite a bit of data emerging on the potential of crowdsourcing. As we covered in our Power of Everyone video, the intersection of connectivity, collaboration, and cognitive surplus is creating an environment where ideas can proliferate and mature rapidly.
This post is an attempt to quantify each of these factors in some way, and understand how we can position ourselves best to ride this colossal wave and force called crowdsourcing.
The data showing an acceleration in Internet connectivity is well documented, though up-to-date statistics are harder to come by and mobile phones are quickly changing what it means to be “connected.” Regardless, we took a conservative route and looked at “Internet Subscription” datacompiled brilliantly by Google as well as this more recent Wikipedia article.
Just spending time with these numbers makes you realize the speed at which this trend is reaching the developing world.
The second factor is collaboration. In 1993 Microsoft launched their revolutionary new encyclopedia, available on CD-ROM. It quickly grew and by 2001 was being offering 100,000 of articles in a few dozen languages. At this same time a small non-profit organization planned to create an encyclopedia relying only on user generated content. In 2001, if I were to ask you to pick a future winner between the world’s largest software company, and a yet-to-be proven collaboration platform, it would have been an easy decision.
Today, however, Encarta is now defunct and Wikipedia offers over 19 Million articles in over 270 languages.
The last component of the “power of everyone” is cognitive surplus, another tricky item to quantify. In researching these statistics however, I came across an interesting article in the Huffington Post, which provided average amount of time spent online for a number of the world’s most populated countries. Combining average time spent online with the percentage of population connected, we can see how much time people for each country collectively spend online.
Here are the results of these calculations:
The totals are astounding. Even just 1% of that time in the U.S alone amounts to 1 billion man hours per year. The future potential for China and India as they become better connected is staggering.
These calculations got me thinking: What if 1% of these populations spent their time online working on something productive? I’ll be asking a group of social entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers just that at my capacity building clinic at this year’s Opportunity Collaboration.
If you are a delegate at the Collaboration, I hope to see you in this session and hear about how you are harnessing the power of everyone.
One percent for the planet gave birth to the thought that just a small portion of a business’s profit goes a long way to impacting the world for the better. Thinking about 1% of connectivity, collaboration, and cognitive surplus used for social good gets me even more excited.