Crowdresearch:WinterMilestone 2 Alipta

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Need finding

Needs drives human existence, need to eat, need to sleep, need to work, need to earn, need to settle in life, we are driven by needs at every corner of life, Need finding is the perfect method of starting a design process, needfinding creates untapped opportunities, creates new user groups discovers users unmet needs. It is very refreshing way to to initiate a design process without any preconceived notions about anything. By simply observing, interviewing people you gather all the requirement you need to begin a design.

I need to eat, because doctor had asked me to eat every 2 hours, because I have a meeting to attend and I want to grab something quickly, because I am hungry I want to eat, because my mom will scold me if I don't, because it is getting late, because I will be on fasting tomorrow so I need to eat now, because I will undergo a surgical operation tomorrow so, I should eat now. Well, there is context, environment, culture (fasting is a culture in India), age (nobody gets scolding if you don't eat other than kids),the essence of need-finding is dependent on factors that is driving that need.


What is happening in the Crowd sourcing market in India

My father used to work in a Govt organisation and I remember in the late 80s he entered into a slogan contest organised by a popular health drink company & bagged a 3rd prize. Unknowingly that was perhaps my first encounter with crowd sourcing which I realized after many years. In my previous milestone write up I had mentioned some examples of crowd sourcing in Indian context, I did also mention about Prof Karim lakhani's concept call Cognitive Surplus, and how the Indian rupee symbol was formed using a crowd sourcing model.

In this Milestone too I want to focus on India, analyse the present state of the crowd sourcing platform and then further analyse the needs of workers & requester.

Over the years we have observed the life on an average Indian follows a linear path

For Men

  • School > College> University > Full time Job > Buy apartment > Marriage > kids > Children's Education > Retirement Planning > Son's/Daughter marriage

For Women The path may be slightly different for a woman

  • School > College > Marriage > Kids > Bringing up kids > daughters marriage > Enjoy the company of grandchildren

But gradually the scenario is changing and we are moving away from our traditional systems and making space for new ones, the current generation as seen today is ready to take up challenges and is deviating from the linear path to create new ones.

  • School > College/Part-time time jobs/Part-time crowd worker > University > Research > Own consultancy > Retirement planning
  • School > College > Full time Job/Part-time crowd worker > Start Own Business > Marriage > Full time-job > Kids > Voluntary Retirement from Job > Own consultancy

The outcome of this deviation is leading us to multiple opportunities & explore different options to earn a living, one such option in the near future would be becoming a permanent crowd worker. Crowd sourcing can be promising sustainable and a successful alternate business model in India going forward.



Why crowd sourcing as a platform will excel in the future

  • Lack of employment opportunities due to economical instability.
  • Primary Job market has lot of competition
  • Sustaining in the Job industry is posing new challenges & threats
  • No pre-qualification required for workers for doing the basic task
  • Stereotyping task that does not require high level of intelligence
  • No need to post resumes in various job sites & wait for interviews, accept a task and start
  • No fixed timings
  • Quick money
  • Business can save on money & infrastructure
  • Suitable job for Physically challenged person/ housewives aspiring to be financially independent.




Where the need is to have internet literacy

Internet being the sole medium of establishing the next gen crowd sourcing platform on a larger scale we may have to dig into the current data a bit to understand if Indian workers are having advanced Internet literacy, we can have a detailed discussion later, but as a quick preview and research conducted by GSMA we have some data in hand

Low mobile/computer literacy can be a significant barrier in using the entire platform

  • According to a research 23% of the male respondents and 34% of the female respondents does not know how to use a mobile or the more complex features
  • 31% of the male and 38% of the female respondents are worried about making a mistake and losing money
  • 24% of the male respondents and 32% of the female respondents have Trouble reading content/language”
  • 61% of the male respondents and 76% of the female respondents have reported that they need help using mobile internet

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My approach towards need finding

My approach towards need finding is generic and not specific to a system, I am trying to find out the need of an worker on a macro level, these macro needs can further be broken down into pieces to understand the micro level problems for a specific task. It's a top down approach where I am trying to recognize the generic need patterns and drill down further into a complex micro level issue(not discussed in this write up), however the actors, systems or context at the micro level may differ keeping the skeleton as the same, in a software industry we have customers who give tasks to perform, in a crowdsourcing space it is the requester.

Human beings has different set of needs at different stages of life and as we grow older our needs are influenced by Socio-economic cultural & environmental factors. In order to analyse the need for a worker at different stages of life I have broken down my research into parts where I have formed different age groups.



Age group 18-24


  • Context: Atul is studying in 10th standard, his father works for a govt firm earnings a below average salary which not decent enough to fulfill all his family needs , Atul had experienced on several occasions whenever he had a requirement for extra pocket money his father cannot afford to give him.
  • Need: Need for Extra Pocket Money, need for social hangouts, travel, fun, need to build social connects and explore various things in life.

Age group 25-32


  • Context: Atul took an educational loan finance his studies, since he is out of college it's time for him to find a job & settle, he has been working as a freelance designer and earning some bucks but there is no steady income, he is looking for a permanent job and settle there so that he can fulfill his social needs like family life, own a house.
  • Need: Permanent job and with a steady income, Earn Social status, plan for long term social goals like marriage, owning a house

Age group 33-40


  • Context: Atul is having a steady job, but still looking for a change, he is getting opportunities with organisation who are offering him a better package but with the same designation.
  • Need: A role change in the career

Age group 40 & above


  • Context: Atul is planning to invest in the money market and looking for a good broker who can guide him also at the same time he is looking for a pension plan where he can invest.
  • Need:Fund building for the future generation, Retirement Planning, Securing life


NEED as a Worker



Age group 18-24


  • Work for task/projects that bring quick money
  • Work for a shorter period
  • Explore options
  • Follow other
  • Build contacts
  • Indulge in Social Life
  • Spend less time at work
  • Target tasks which are easy in nature

Age group 25-32


  • Explore Different Opportunities
  • Identify the most demanding jobs
  • Research on organisations/requester before working for them
  • Acquire Multiple job related Skills
  • Get on the job training
  • Do no like to work under pressure
  • Fixed working hours
  • Have lunch on time
  • Specialize in a particular skill set
  • Build trust & credentials in the organisation
  • Get the tag of an experienced worker
  • Need Incentives as motivation may be in the form of a promotion/salary raise
  • Get regular handful income
  • Earn more money by putting extra efforts
  • Start Saving money for Future
  • Attend Social gathering
  • Freedom at work
  • Excitement & challenge
  • Get Motivated
  • Wok under a good boss
  • Collaborate with other workers
  • Tasks/deliverable will be accepted
  • Receive early feedback on deliverable
  • Get Positive & fair rating
  • Look for new jobs
  • Understand customers/requester mindsets
  • Need silence in the room



Age group 33-40


  • Maintain Work life balance
  • Build & maintain relationship with clients/requester
  • Secure jobs
  • Work from Home
  • Make quick decisions
  • More disciplined life to keep himself/herself fit & healthy
  • Prefer only consulting work which is highly paying
  • Capitalize the reputation earned over the years by bargaining on wages
  • Earn respect as a worker
  • Need teams to work with

Age group 40 onwards


  • Maintain reputation as a worker
  • Work from home especially women
  • Take up less complex work
  • Secure jobs
  • Fixed working hours
  • Build teams


NEED as a Requester/Client



  • Get the job done on time
  • Get quality output from workers
  • Post clear requirements with no ambiguity
  • Express clear goals & thoughts
  • Converse with workers
  • Motivate workers
  • Help workers build a career
  • Understand mental model of Workers


Connecting the Dots

The success of a platform or a product does not depend on how usable, scale-able, robust, sustainable aesthetically impressive the platform is but, also depends on the peripheral factors like user expectation from the system, human intelligence, social & cultural context, environmental factors mobile/Computer literacy, basic education of the users, while we do a need finding exercise we take a holistic view and cover all of these aspects.


Milestone Contributors

Alipta Ballav @alipta