Crowdsourcing is a relatively new way for businesses and individuals to pursue project completion. Here, we see the use of many people for the common good of one goal. How it works and its wide array of utilization can best be seen in looking to examples of this concept in action. Let’s take a look at five, great examples of crowdsourcing at work.

MIT Climate CoLab

Several years ago, MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence began a crowdsource project aimed at affecting climate change. The grand challenge offered to the eventual thousands of participants was to offer viable ideas that can help to slow climate change. One of the top ideas to come from the project was the creation of a website that gives visitors virtual tools to help determine their homes’ areas of heat loss and inefficiency in insulation. The Climate CoLab is still in effect and joinable today.


The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI is perhaps one of the very first examples of the modern crowdsource project. In SETI, participants’ computers are fed recorded audio data from space. This data is then translated and sent back to SETI headquarters for final analyses. The goal is to find proof of extraterrestrial, intelligent life via recorded sound phenomenon that is not of natural origin. Nothing conclusive has been found yet, but many interesting events and perplexing signals have gone into the books over the years. For those interested in being a part of the collective study, the project can be found here.

Starbucks White Cup Contest

We see another innovative example of the crowdsource project courtesy of Starbucks and its 2014 White Cup Contest. At the time, Starbucks cups were mainly bare with just a lonely Starbucks emblem in the middle of an empty canvas. The connection was then made that this space should be taken advantage of. The only question was how.

The result was an open crowdsource project that happily rolled out to the public. Draw on your Starbucks cup, take a picture, and submit it to the company in the hopes of winning a prize. This was the idea sent out so as to figure out how to fill this large, blank space. After thousands of entries, a college art student won the top prize with her selected entry, and the company now had a great way to adorn their previously dull and drab coffee cups.


Most people have heard of or used TripAdvisor at some point. This popular destination review website has been trusted for destination reviews and detailed information for several years now. How does it actually work?

TripAdvisor is technically, one, large, and very innovative example of the modern crowdsource endeavor at its best. When visiting different destinations, travelers can go to the site and leave detailed reviews and information about their experience at the destination. After so many reviews, virtually all venues are thoroughly detailed by the website and visitors can get an accurate idea of destination experiences before actually going.


Finally, we take a look at crowdfunding, yet another, slightly different form of crowdsource work. In crowdfunding the ultimate goal of the project sponsor is to generate adequate funding for something. It can be a personal event, the start of a new service, or even investment money for an entrepreneur’s newest invention. No matter, finance is the goal of this crowdsource endeavor.

Examples can be found at a growing number of crowdfunding websites. A simple Google search today will bring up numerous, new companies advocating the crowdfunding endeavors of its members: GoFundMe, Kickstarter, EquityNet, and many others. The reward here for the funded is financing, while the reward for the funder can range from small gifts to an eventual percentage of ownership in the endeavor.

Today, the crowdsource project has become a fairly common method of project completion. The types of projects and goals held are as varied as the contributors. These are the basics and just a few, brief examples of modern crowdsourcing in action.