Crowdsourcing and Microwork in Nepal
Outsourcing is a $50 billion dollar industry in India, can Nepal catch the next wave – Crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.
From the workers perspective it is a flexible anytime, anywhere ability to work on simple computer tasks commonly referred to as Microwork. It can be performed in cybers across Nepal, from home, from anywhere a computer and internet connection is available (even on mobile phones).
Because Nepal is landlocked and manufacturing and factories are not the ticket to economic development, perhaps the setting up of digital factories to perform microwork is a good opportunity. It is the art of breaking up a large problem into small tasks that are given to a crowd to each perform their small task and then collecting everything back up into the final result, the solution. Think of it as an assembly line where building a car is a really complex project but if you train a group of people to each do their individual task well (one person puts the steering wheel on each car, one checks the windows roll up and down, one puts the tires on each car, etc, etc) you then have a group of lower skilled people who can complete the job better, quicker and cheaper than even the best mechanical engineers in the world. Crowdsourcing in Nepal may look like setting up virtual assembly lines that are distributed throughout the country where simple computer tasks are performed repeatedly for small amounts of money each (1 – 250 NPR for 15 seconds to 1 hour of work).
I’ll talk about the program and technologies my company has been building, about the NGO that is being formed to do the training and equipping of people to do this type of work and ask about the problems, pitfalls and recommendations as we look to use Microwork to benefit Nepal.