August 22, 2013
Technology plays an even greater role in our daily lives today, than it used to twenty years ago. Nowadays it is inconceivable to live in a modern society without access to internet, a mobile phone or a banking card. The ingenuity of the human mind merged with the determination to strive for excellence to open up a new chapter in human history. In the beginning, technological innovations were developed in free societies, where people were able to use their creativity to achieve their full potential, constantly shaping not only the social, political and economic landscape of their countries, but of the entire globe.
Crowdsourcing is a practice built on the use of new technology resources to solve real problems within communities in a spirit of freedom and solidarity, and to give everyone a chance to actively contribute to the solution.
First, what is the definition of “crowdsourcing?” According to Jeff Howe, the person who introduced the term for the first time in the blogpost, Crowdsourcing: A Definition, from Wired Magazine: “Simply defined, crowdsourcing represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call.”
The crowdsourcing model has proven to be effective in engaging civil society organizations and in enabling them to build a climate of solidarity with respect to human life and dignity of the person.
Crowdsourcing’s link with dignity was demonstrated by the Haiti Earthquake in 2010, which incapacitated the local government, people and economy. The lives of the Haitians in the aftermath of the disaster were severely damaged. Crowdsourcing was used to bring relief, coordinate volunteers and raise money for resources. Crowdsourcing helped people to act fast in order to save lives.
Another example of crowdsourcing comes from Romania, where I have tested this concept for the first time in an integrated web based platform titled Serviciul Civic de Ajutor, “The Civic Help Service,” (www.ajutorcivic.eu). This web based platform incorporates open source mapping and crowdsourcing technologies in order to drive engagement in emergency situations. In the cold winter of the 2012, nearly 50 students were mobilized in order to provide assistance to people in need.
We, the young people of the world, need to use the innovative ideas and technology available to us to foster solidarity, to build a culture of life, and to defend human dignity.