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Saturday, 12 January 2013 - 6:32am IST | Agency: DNA
As curator of TEDxGateway, Yashraj Siddharth Akashi comes in close contact with people who have truly unique ideas which, once implemented, can change the lives of people in a monumental way.

As curator of TEDxGateway, Yashraj Siddharth Akashi comes in close contact with people who have truly unique ideas which, once implemented, can change the lives of people in a monumental way.

Thankfully, he also sees those thoughts and ideas – like making safe drinking water more accessible to a village – being translated into action.

In Akashi’s words, crowdsourcing is a new age distributed problem-solving and production model, where tasks are outsourced to large crowds and, in turn, tap a huge talent pool for solutions. “These tasks could be online or offline, paid or for free, and they are outsourced to an undefined public, in opposition to traditional outsourcing,” he explains.

Crowdfunding, on the other hand, allows someone with a truly novel idea to get in touch with people who can provide adequate backing/funding for his/her project. “Most of the time, ideas never go beyond the dinner table,” explains Akashi. “ TED.com is an online platform for ideas worth spreading to be shared/showcased to the world.

A well-known concept abroad with websites like kickstarter.com and  indiegogo.com being a rage, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding as a concept began to pick popularity in 2004 and 2005. “In crowdfunding, anyone can help or fund a project. It may even be a dollar worth of money. While I can spend Rs250 for a movie ticket, I can easily spend Rs60 for a friend’s project and other friends to contribute.”

Websites like Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, Taskrabbit, Dell IdeaStorm, Quora and The Galaxy Zoo amongst others thrive on crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing helps companies to stay in tune with their customers’ needs in the most cost effective way. Going a level higher, crowdsourcing/tasksourcing can also be assigning the job of bringing a laptop charger from Andheri to Worli to someone, for money.

As crowdsourcing relies tremendously on one’s access to the Internet, Akashi emphasis that the youth has a huge role to play in making the concept more successful in the future in India. As a good example of crowdsourcing in India, Akashi cites the example of the Facebook page for Delhi Traffic Police, which uses crowd-clicked photos as proof to prosecute offending vehicles.


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