The idea of two or more people working together to solve a common problem they are facing, is not new. Communities throughout the ages have long practiced it. However, the widely adoption of the Internet, connecting widely dispersed nodes together has revolutionized how people communicate, work and has proliferated crowdsourcing. In recent history, the term crowdsourcing can be traced back to 2006. After a publication in the Wired magazine titled “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” by Jeff Howe, crowdsourcing became a buzzword in business, attracting interests from major corporations. Crowdsourcing can be defined as a bottom-up, innovative and open process that exploits the large network of individuals to perform tasks that were often done by companies or institutions in a form of an open call.
Crowdsourcing enables individuals in different locations to collaboratively work on diverse problems, ideas and solutions at much faster rate than usual without the involvement of institutions or companies. It’s well established that knowledge is widely distributed throughout the world. By making it easier for diverse people from different parts of the world to work on a challenge or task, crowdsourcing tries to harness this widely distributed knowledge. Crowdsourcing is not only about getting work done faster, but has evolved into an efficient approach for people to acquire information. During his second state of nation address, his Excellency Dr Hage Geingob president of the Republic of Namibia launched the ambitious short-term plan; Harambe plan aimed transforming the living conditions and ensuring prosperity to every member of the Namibian house.
However, government alone cannot accomplish all goals outlined in the Harambe plan, thus the need for all us, members of the Namibian house to get involve and bring our little bits to the party. For example, those of us who are proficient in Information Technology can develop solutions that are inline with the Harambe ICT goals, which we can sell to government to help digitalise government. Specialists in other areas can use their skills and expertise to help meet targets in their field of interest. The involvement of intermediaries through crowdsourcing will enhance efficiency in delivery of services, reduce government spending; create new enterprises and jobs. These enterprises will in return contribute to national treasury through taxes and provide the much-needed jobs in order to alleviate poverty in the Namibian house.
Today, different types of crowdsourcing platforms exist, ranging from highly specialized platforms such as InnoCentive to more general platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), Clickworkers and Wikipedia. General crowdsourcing platform have attracted large crowds, due to the fact that they are utilized for variety of tasks. Widespread mobile broadband and network has led to the explosion of the mobile device industry, making these devices ubiquitous. The ubiquitous and persuasive nature of mobile phones and tablets present new opportunities for the crowd, enabling members of the crowd to complete their tasks from anywhere and everywhere. We believe that the present and future of the crowd is mobile.
Harnessing the power of the crowd has not been more relevant than it is today. And as our country seeks for solutions to meet the goals highlighted in the Harambe plan, there is a need for a Harambe crowdsourcing platform where all solutions that will enable government to accomplish all goals outlined are sourced. This will help government efficiently and effectively monitor the progress of each goal in real time and also enable them to achieve the set objectives timely and adequately. Together we can build the Namibian house, apart we can only break it.
Lameck Mbangula Amugongo is country Ambassador of 1 Billion Africa in Namibia. He holds a B.IT: Software Engineering, B.Hons: Software Development (Cum Laude) and currently pursuing MSc. Computer Science.