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PlaceSpeak and Crowdsourcing


An excerpt from an article in the July 9, 2013 online edition of the Vancouver Sun:



Knowledge problem? go with the crowd

Information technology applications are giving people more say in processes ranging from product development to government policy-making

By John Prpic And Prashant Shukla, Vancouver Sun July 9, 2013

As Metro Vancouver’s municipal bureaucrats and politicians wrestle over transportation priorities in the Lower Mainland, it’s clear that future projects – given their growing scope and cost – will require even greater consultation and public input than in years past. New bike lanes, bridges, and SkyTrain lines all tend to evoke robust and mostly informed debate.

The big difference today is how technology has changed the nature of these dialogues – making them more centralized, accessible and powerful. Increasingly, our government and business leaders are turning over more of their decision-making to the power of the digital crowd.

And new firms are springing up to give online crowds a bigger boost. Vancouver-based PlaceSpeak, a community consultation platform, is a powerful case in point. Working with different Canadian jurisdictions and companies, the website allows everyday citizens to influence the decisionmaking process – whether the issue is housing affordability or municipal transportation plans.

In government or business, the digital crowd wields more power than ever before.

Applications like crowdsourcing, citizen science, prediction markets, and Wikis all use IT to engage and access dispersed knowledge from a crowd, and organizations are using these IT applications to address their operating and innovation needs. Whether using a crowd as a labour pool or as a partner for collaboration, IT applications have made accessing knowledge previously inaccessible from crowds of individuals remarkably easier and efficient to obtain. And in the process this emerging paradigm has created a new potential resource for organizations: crowd capital.


John Prpic and Prashant Shukla are PhD students in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.

You can read the whole article here.


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