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What happens when talent and crowdsourcing collide?


This is a guest post by Paul MacCartney

150 years ago last week, London built the world’s first underground rail network to deal with the crowds flocking to work in the City. Managing the Tube well continues to be a key economic enabler – and a challenge – as London’s population grows. It is no surprise that booming mega-cities across the world are investing in metro systems. Dealing with the crowd as a ‘problem’ is essential for growth.

Scenes of crowds are still associated with high drama and, oftentimes, catastrophe. Generally, we associate masses with mindlessness and group-think. Just a short time ago, business and government leaders either feared ‘the mob’, or tried to control it in some way.

But a quiet revolution in technology and human behaviour has gathered pace in the past ten years. In the age of web 2.0, engaging with the crowd has become a game-changing solution to a multitude of problems, instead of being a problem itself.

The end of ‘the mob’

Online, the outputs of mass behaviour can be measured, tracked and harvested in ways that were impossible before. Jimmy Wales saw the power of the crowd when he created Wikipedia, now the largest human knowledge base ever assembled.

On a less idealistic note, online reviews have revolutionised the way we find and buy products and services. Amazon reviews and ratings – a form of ‘just-in-time’ learning – allow consumers to make informed decisions and retailers to understand market behaviour like never before.

Media organisations have also been transformed by ‘ crowdsourcing’. Instead of telling us the news, they now ask us to tell them. They do this because the competition from social media is so fierce. When a quick hashtag search on Twitter reveals up-to-the-minute information on any topic imaginable, not embracing a crowdsourced media strategy is not an option.

Will you be crowdsourcing your next CEO?

Put simply, crowdsourcing is a trend that has become a pervasive part of our daily lives and isn’t going away any time soon. Some may think that this shift in the balance of power makes life more difficult for businesses. But as anyone involved in learning appreciates, increasing the quantity and flow of information can only be good news for business performance.

So how can we leverage the power of the crowd to improve our talent practices? We are already used to sharing value judgements prolifically, openly and (more or less) honestly in our personal lives. It’s now time to use that technology and behaviour to get better at about succession-planning, recruitment and performance appraisals.

At the Learning Technologies Show later this month I’ll be talking about the power of the crowd and explaining how you can add a crowdsourcing element to your talent strategies with low cost tools. So, will you be crowdsourcing your next CEO?

My session takes place on 29 January at 3.30pm (Track 3). Find out:

  • What crowdsourcing is and why it’s so prevalent
  • How crowdsourcing has impacted online learning
  • What’s the likely impact of crowdsourcing on the future of performance and talent management
  • How you can add a crowdsourcing element to your talent strategies (even on a shoestring)
  • Key tactics to leverage the power of the crowd in your talent practices

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