Milestone 7 RATH Crowd as Company
Crowd as Company: a multi-layer implementation of the crowdsourcing model
The challenges we are tasked with addressing, those of trust and power in a crowdsourcing system are unsolvable. We say this because these challenges are not in the system but of the system. Webster’s defines system as “an assemblage or a combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole” alternately they go on to define company as “a number of individuals assembled or associated together; group of people.” The paradigm of a system to harness full human collective capacity is inherently flawed and any attempt to do so is a Kobayashi Maru.
Systems don’t have trust issues, people do. The crowd is not a collection of “things or parts” it is a collection of people. The full potential of the crowd is limited by a system and unleashed as a company.
As we took a deeper look at some of the fundamental challenges of communication, moderation, trust and power, we realized the challenge with resolving those individual problems is that they are systemic. They are endemic of a system. So, if you accept the premise that the root cause of these problems and challenges were with the organizational choice than we advocate building the solution within a new framework. We would like to advocate Crowd Sourcing as a service and NOT a system.
There are some companies out there that are trying to capitalize on the crowdsourcing phenomenon, such as Crowdsource.com, but they tend to act as brokers, merely adding a layer of bureaucracy or convenience for minimal gain to the worker or the client for that matter, with the profits remaining with the company owners. Other companies (IBM, Deutsche Telekom, Pfizer) are looking to embrace crowdsourcing internally, such as those who utilizing the crowdsourcing principals to spark innovation, define some objectives and engage their workforce, but all on a limited basis. Both types of efforts are looking to capitalize on the trend, but neither address our established challenges of trust and power created in the current crowdsourcing paradigm. They are playing at crowdsourcing not evolving with crowdsourcing. What we propose is a blueprint not only for this organization but for the company of the future. A future full of crowd owned, crowdsourced organizations.
We would propose a shift from the concept of building a system, to building a company: a crowd owned, crowd sourced, crowd sourcing organization.
Community as a company, is an organizational model in which the needs/wants of the information age worker are met through an organizationally nimble structure. In this new organization, engagement, culture, and meaningful impact are not marketing ideas proffered by leadership; but are an organic expression of the collective. This may sound cynical, but how many companies beyond GE, Google, etc. really understand the dynamic of culture as a tangible component of delivering on a companies’ mission?
Company ownership takes many forms. Private companies are owned by a few individuals, publicly traded companies are owned by many parties, and employee owned companies are just that. None of these current structures create an opportunity for ownership for a crowdsourced worker. They are seen as temps, replaceable, interchangable. However the mobility and transitory nature of work is changing on a grand scale and crowdsourced worker are at the heart of this. How can we create an opportunity for ownership when the at-will nature of engagement is a cornerstone of the crowdsourcing model? We create an organization that allows for profit sharing to extend not only to "employees" but to all crowdsource workers on an annual basis, prorated based on worker participation throughout the year. This sharing of profit also serves to mitigate potential exploitation, as the profits of the company are the profits of all workers.
We are looking to create the correct environment in which workers and work can be aligned in a manner that is respectful, efficient and sustainable/scalable. We seek to transform the corporate format from a perception of greed, repression and micro management to profit sharing, self motivation and self actualization.
In recognizing the ability of a crowdsourcing structure to allow worker/employees to meet their full potential, we propose that the company adopt a multilayered crowdsourcing approach. We propose that employees workload be as crowdsourced as possible. For example, work items (internal HITS) will loaded into the collaboration tool. Employees will be tasked with devoting 75% of their time to role/department specific tasks, but the remaining 25% of the time they can choose from available work throughout the company to fill their time. We acknowledge that some upper level management work will be title specific, however these individuals will still have 25% of their time to devote to other company tasks. By embracing a crowdsourced culture, it will better enable the entire organization to stay in cultural step with the crowdworkers. Foundational workers (employees) will set start the dialogue/ask questions, manage payroll and systems, facilitate engagement and relationship building internally and externally. The idea is not to create hierarchy, but to empower a cadre of individuals that keep the organization moving forward under its own power.
This aspect of our proposal is the most familiar as this is the portion that has been under development for the last 7 weeks. We propose to improve upon the current worker/requester technical platform as outlined in out sequin "Systems" highlighting the following improvements.
The worker pool will be tiered. Workers are assessed and tested and leveled into the organization by peers through a resume heuristic (experiences) and tests (Experience). Moving up into a tier is based on same criteria. Novices are at the bottom with PO/Scrum master/Technical Leads at the top.
What we find most interesting to this proposed organizational structure is the capability for further application. We believe that the introduction of crowdowned crowdsourced companies is the way of the future. The crowdsource labor market places are continuing to move towards a more empowered and complex structure. Simultaneously, we see corporations adopting various ideas of crowdsourcing whether it is crowdsourcing ideas from customers or utilizing cloud labor. These two paths are about to collide in this new structure. No longer will crowd workers be disempowered but vital to organizational success. No longer will companies be playing at crowdsourcing, but embracing it as tool for human capital engagement.
- *In an era of heightened corporate transparency, greater workforce mobility, and severe skills shortages, culture, engagement, and retention have emerged as top issues for business leaders. These issues are not simply an HR problem.
- *Culture and engagement is the most important issue companies face around the world. 87 percent of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50 percent call the problem “very important.”
- *Organizations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organizational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.[]
We believe that this organization structure is an integral step in the evolution of cloud labor markets and company structure and culture alike.
One aspect that makes this concept so compelling for us is one of scalability for the crowdsourcing organization. If we look at scalability from micro tasks to macrotask/project work, by having a central organization with employees, there is opportunity to grow the base organization to support more complex client work and relationships. Additionally, there is flexibility with regard to industry inclusion. It would be possible to fold in everything from crowdsourced voice over work to design services to legal services. The fundamental concept of a crowdowned, crowdsourced organization scales wide and deep.
Also of note, is that with proof of concept of this new company structure, there is possibility to replicate in international locations to comply with varying local laws/standards.
The technical platform is a modular dashboard available to all participants. The modular library will provide both a width and depth of quantitative insight into any/all aspects of the system's functionality. We recognize the challenge of the volume of modular functionality required to provide near omniscience from data mining however this is critical to solving the asymmetrical information problem.
We seek to offer historical information, real-time data and predictive analytics in a variety of visualizations and decision making tools. This whole thing works because of transparency from revenue and profit sharing to Solution Library. Clients have access to worker availability at any given time. Competitive pricing depending on SLA and time of submittal. Modules discussed to date include:
- Pricing Engine
- Milestone_5_RATH_Mockup:_Compensation_Suggestion_Tool - Offers an historical histogram of completed transactions based upon HIT variables. Could allow for rules engine based on standard deviation to set minimum compensation threshold
- Real-time Current Price Charting Tool - Provides real-time "stock-price" like graphics of HIT compensation based on numerous available variables
- Performance Profile
- Worker History - Number of HITS, acceptance rates, time to completion, breadth of task types
- Requester History - HIT Volume, payment turnaround time, HIT clarity/acceptance rates, Communication profile
- HIT Metrics
- Current Workers - How many workers with a certain profile are currently active or have been within a given variable of time.
- Current HITS - Metrics of current HIT volume - variables could include HIT type and other parameters
- HIT FEED/Worker FEED - Provides a real-time feed of likely matches of HITs/Workers (view dependent on whether worker or requester)
Additional Feeds: Profit/revenue sharing dashboard; Community feed: Available training, activities, etc, Internal Blog(s), Internal Solution Library will be archived and maintained.
Client/Worker Interface Functionality
- Clients will fill out a detailed profile form.
- Depending on their tier of their Service Level Agreement, they will have a portal to see activity and access workers.
- When requesting a work order, more details which will help route the work to the right feed (Task/Project/Game/Hackathon).
- The structure of the organization provides service in content creation (Blog Posts, White papers, etc), Trendwatching/Surveys, Technical/Non-Technical problem solving, Design Work, Software Development, Testing, Micro Tasking, Backoffice, Clearing.
- Project/Product Managers/ Scrum Masters and technical leads (Top of the tier) will get the associated feed and choose the work they want to manage/supervise.
- Review for accuracy, applicability and other criteria such as worker availability.
- Once all is confirmed, work is committed to and executed upon with a kick off call. An epic form of agile.
- Client sees progress of individual task as do those that participate in the process.
- Client also has a dashboard of all activity.
- Workers declare their availability monthly/weekly/daily.
- Aggregator tool takes count and assess workforce availability real time.
The results we strive for are tied to changed behaviors and capturing the attention of the marketplace. Clients and mimicry will signal the first way of user adoption. As early adopters give way to the more risk averse, than success is validation of the POC. As a dynamic organizational model driven by market forces, crowdcourcing as a company can be embracy and adopted in a variety of iterations, at the end of the day, regardless of its monetary success, the challenge it poses to the status quo and the introspection it should prompt is the greatest take away.
Deloitte Press: Culture and Engagement - The naked organization, February 27, 2015