Top crowdsourcing trends shaping the future of innovation and marketing

A headshot of Judy Garvey

by Judy Garvey

Cartoon illustration of a bent arrow protruding from a thought bubble.

Crowdsourcing is a billion dollar industry in the United States alone. Even more, crowdfunding continues to grow by at least 10% annually, year after year. That is not even to mention capital investments or crowdlending alternatives.

Clearly, crowdsourcing trends cannot be ignored. This is especially true if you're working with limited capital.

Crowdsourcing can kickstart your business if you've got a great idea or limited means. It can also help you elevate your existing business into its ideal, most effective form.

Let's take a look at the top crowdsourcing trends shaping the future.

The Top Crowdsourcing Trends That Will Influence The Future

Crowdfunding has come a long way since the simple Kickstarter or Gofundme. To be clear, though, crowdsourcing involves more than just crowdfunding. Let's take a quick look to understand the difference.

Crowdfunding Vs. Crowdsourcing: What's The Difference?

Crowdfunding is what most people think of when they think of crowdsourcing. Crowdfunding is simply leveraging your existing audience for some sort of startup capital.

Crowdsourcing is the umbrella that crowdfunding falls under. It's described as "the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers."

Crowdsourcing can mean everything from having an on-demand workforce to incorporating blockchain technology into your business strategy.

Read Next: The benefits and limitation of crowdsourcing

Now let's look at some of the specific crowdsourcing trends that are taking root in today's workplace.


Decentralization is a way to set up a business in a more egalitarian and efficient way. Instead of all decisions coming from the top down, tasks are disseminated down the chain to lower- and mid-level management. This frees up higher management to focus on more important tasks.

This model has been adopted by everybody from FinTech companies to transportation providers. Blockchain uses decentralized technology. So do Uber and Lyft.

Decentralization has an important philosophical component, as well. It removes the power from one source to spread it among many.

Digital journalism is one example of this impact. News used to be passively consumed, without access to contrary viewpoints. We consume our news from all over, at this point. Citizen journalism is on the rise which is having a profound effect on how the average person engages with politics.

Considering the uproar around "fake news" in recent years, this crowdsourcing trend is only going to become more important.

Micro Tasks

Micro tasks are simple actions that need human interaction, usually via the Internet. Micro tasks can be a part of a larger project. One example might be users identifying street signs to help improve self-driving cars.

Micro tasks are important in assessing collected data that requires human decision-making. This could be for anything from basic data entry or audio transcription to training AI and machine learning networks.

Micro tasks are often used by:

  • Museums
  • Data scientists
  • AI researchers
  • Corporations

Micro tasks are essentially building the nervous system for tomorrow's Smart Technology. Self-driving cars, medicine, and education are all using this format in new and intriguing ways.

Related Read: Understanding the crowdsourcing technology spectrum

Billions of micro tasks are performed each year and that number is only growing. Amazon Mechanical Turk dominates the micro task landscape.


No company is an island. This is especially true of companies that work in innovative sectors such as tech. It's hard enough just to keep up with tech let alone actually get ahead in your industry.

Increasingly, companies are turning to co-creation models. This lets them leverage their network's skills, connections, and resources. This is very different from traditional research and development.

Co-creation also incentivizes the employees, rectifying one of capitalism's greatest weaknesses. People will always work harder when they stand to benefit from their hard work.

Hitachi Europe reports that 58% of businesses have used co-creation projects as a way to innovate. 51% report that it's been financially beneficial. 54% report it helping them stay socially relevant.

As collaboration tools and connectivity continue to rise, so will co-creation. It doesn't stop there, though.

If You Like This, Read This: How co-creation impacts the customer experience

Co-creation is a crowdsourcing trend that also involves your customers. It's possible to involve consumers in your business model. This gives your company an essential insight into what your audience wants. It also helps them to feel more engaged with the product.

Crowdsourced Marketplaces

Inviting the public to help choose what you sell takes the idea of audience involvement to its ultimate conclusion. Consider the case of Minted, which curates crowdsourced art and design into high-quality stationery, art, and decor.

Amazon's launched a similar service with Launchpad. Amazon Launchpad collects products from inspiring new startups, crowdfunding platforms, and thought incubators.

Amazon Launchpad primarily works with companies already affiliated with the tech giant. Outside companies are encouraged to apply, as well. This means that Amazon has a steady drip feed of the most cutting-edge products on the marketplace, for customers and businesses alike.

Check out our Innovation & Crowdsourcing page for more.

Izberg Online Marketplace is combining the ideas behind a crowdsourced marketplace with a dedicated publishing platform. They offer companies with an existing website the tools to convert their domain into an online marketplace.

Once they have, they're paired up with other companies in their niche. This helps companies increase both their audience and product range without incurring additional expense.

User-Generated Content

Spreading the word about your company is almost as important as the services and products you provide. User-generated content is a simple, surefire way to increase brand awareness.

A user-generated content campaign invites your audience to create branded content for your company. They'll then share their creations on social media using a customized hashtag that you'll monitor for entries.

User-generated content can also come from competitions. Consider the recent case of Netflix. They offered a $1 million dollar prize for an algorithm to predict user ratings.

User-generated content campaigns come with their own challenges, however. The social media campaigns need to be monitored at all times or public interest could lag.

Some amount of curation needs to happen, as well. Allowing unfiltered user-generated content into the wild is a recipe for disaster.

Crowdsourcing continues to evolve as quickly as the technologies it uses. Crowdfunding isn't going anywhere. Neither is remote work or digital collaboration. Follow along with these trends and you'll no longer have to wonder what is shaping the future.

Do You Want To Learn How Crowdsourcing Can Help Your Company?

Whether you're just starting to follow crowdsourcing trends or already far along in your journey, there's always more to learn! Find out how our crowd innovation solutions can help you stay ahead of the curve in your industry!

This website is not optimized for Internet Explorer.

For the best experience, please use a newer browser such as Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.