Make applicable differences. Pursue your interests beyond boundaries.
Last week I sent a new crowdsourcing incentivized challenge to an e-friend located oceans away. After reading its guidelines and everything I thought: this guy is one of those who can make an applicable difference and bring immediate light and stability in the lives of people from his community simply by using his insights and expertise to design a solution.
The seeker for this challenge looks for new ways to break data to improve the outcomes of employment for community college students. They have a well-defined platform that connects community colleges with students and labour market. Their entire methodology is a fresh approach on HR tech market. The prize purse for problem solvers is like it is in open innovation, modest, like $10,000 overall, dispersed between two or three winning solutions. Usually, one gets $5,000 and the others get the rest. In the conventional consulting market, the seeker would be pushed to pay a small fortune for solving this type of problem.
I was so enthusiast about the opportunity to improve this process in order for more people get the right job faster, as I totally forgot that my e-friend never played this game this way, through crowdsourcing.
His first thought was: I’ll never give away my solutions at this low-cost, these kinds of solutions are seriously paid in the market. What’s this thing to get 100 solutions, pay for 2/3 and get insights from all? It’s outrageous!
If you narrow it down to this aspect only, yes, it is. All crowdsourcing solvers feel the same deep down, we know it. We are aware of it. Most of us fear a future where we should wake up each morning and survive the next only if we get first in such wild competitions, only if our solutions get the prize and rise above a global crowd. That would be a horror story. But we also fear a future crowded with shitty culture, twisted leadership approaches, low quality products and services, and lack of opportunities just because we didn’t contribute to make them better or more legitimate, to create more markets. Just because we weren’t facing the game.
During We Are Solvers interviews, we discussed many ups and downs of the crowdsourcing process and open innovation marketplace. This is one of them. But when you look at it from a broader perspective, there are more ups than downs.
In my view, it all gets down to designing your personal strategy to better navigate and thrive in a more and more complex and challenging world. As Abshar Rashid, one of my winning solvers guests in We Are Solvers said: to pursue your interests beyond boundaries. Beautiful way to put it!
To do that, you need to leave all your frustrations aside and prioritize your intentions, needs and motivations. Once you did that, the strategy that best works for you unravels and a new journey opens in front of you.
Whether you like it or not, you need to learn continuously to be on the wave and among the first options to take into account when it comes to hiring. Open innovation marketplace is a great venue for that.
Whether you like it or not, you need to be able to show to your clients or future employers what you did in all the time when you haven’t a conventional job. Solving problems through crowdsourcing is a great way to build portfolio and reputation, to stay connected to what’s next. Much better than staying depressed and wandering around. And a lot of challenges lie ahead.
Whether you like it or not, you need to live in a world you can fit in and fulfill your potential. If you don’t become an active part of its design, you should not complain, you should not be upset and frustrated. Every choice comes with its costs and benefits. No one will do things just to fit your expectations. You are on your own on this one.
For me, solving problems through crowdsourcing does not mean I sell myself cheap. It means that my top priorities are:
to be there ready and on when the next comes
to enrich my knowledge base, shape my skills and learn new things
to connect with people alike
to build my reputation and portfolio
It is an investment in my future. In the better version of my self.
From the cost perspective, I look at solving problems through crowdsourcing as alternative volunteering, a constructive and sustainable way to pay my tribute to the world. Sometimes I get the money prize, sometimes I don’t. But I always get value. The conventional volunteer directly helps the beneficiaries of one cause or another. Going alternative, I directly help the providers to make sure we’ll get less charity beneficiaries, less causes. That’s my agenda.
I’ll never be able to have a better business and life if the surrounding environment gets worse. And as I am not a politician to be able to influence that change from the insides of the systems, as a problem solver I can influence this change in fast, direct and applicable ways by walking on the path of open innovation. By doing it through crowdsourcing, I also hack the boundaries.
What I also noticed on this pathway is that it is also a great practice, exercise to rise above yourself and above harsh realities. When one of your solutions gets the award, you feel fulfilment, some sort of hope, purpose and meaning. It makes you stronger, more resilient.
As a person among billions, this is something I can do.
To close, I think John F. Kennedy’ thoughts say it better: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
I’ll leave you now with some valuable insights coming from my peer Abshar Rashid with an excerpt from our virtual filmed encounter on set. Read the full story on the new We Are Solvers platform.
I also take this new opportunity to invite awarded problem solvers to join our raising awareness project about winning solvers community. You can find all the newest details here.