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August 29th, 2014

Recently, as part of a crowdsourcing initiative, the Smithsonian Institution began asking for volunteers to work with its Transcription Center website, deciphering a host of written and printed materials from its archives, from personal letters to early U.S. currency.

Already, the effort has resulted in hundreds of pages of correspondence between the Monuments Men, and volunteers stand ready to transcribe reports by Langdon Warner, the inspiration for Indiana Jones (see The Smithsonian Wants You! (To Help Transcribe Its Collections).

Even the Pentagon is looking to crowdsourcing to address future challenges to national security (see Pentagon Taps Crowdsourcing to Chart Future Threats).

While the phenomenon of crowdsourcing seems very new, given its role in the significant technological innovations over the past decade, it’s actually a well-vetted method for problem-solving that offers plenty of potential for the future, if you’re ready for the deluge of data it can provide.

On Entrepreneur.com, Dell Boomi’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Morton noted in his article, Driving Innovation with Crowdsourcing, that although harnessing the power and wisdom of crowds is a very old concept, it may also hold the key to experimenting with mining individual ideas that can help drive major innovation, problem solving, efficiency and cost savings. That is, if companies are prepared to integrate data from multiple sources with an analytics solution that can mine the data effectively.

How has your organization used the power of crowdsourcing?