Crowdsourcing Creativity: Participative Design on the Internet

By Alexandre Joyce.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

More than ever people want to participate proactively in the design process. In many domains, users have already become active in modifying or creating solutions for themselves to satisfy their needs and desires. The internet has proven to be a fertile ground, enabling large numbers of users to become active in generating content. This study was conducted to better understand the relationship between the simplicity of participation over the internet and the user’s capacity to innovate. To do so, we evaluated the creativity of user participation while using the internet for crowdsourcing a brainstorming task. In 2006, the term crowdsourcing was coined to designate a phenomenon where large numbers of people are accomplishing tasks over the internet. Crowdsourcing a brainstorming is what we’re calling brainsourcing. This study shows that in the right conditions, participants over the internet can produce a large quantity of original and diverse responses to a design problem. Moreover, the brainsourcing exercices produced ideas that are comparable to those of a group of designers. In addition, we developed a means for designers to perceive tacit needs by allowing for users to express their ideas. With a third person point of view on the results of the brainsourcing, the designers can reflect upon the users’ generated content during the participatory design process. Ultimately, we propose brainsourcing as a parallel activity to brainstorming. While still involved with defining the problem space, the designer’s perspective on the sum of the participants’ ideas can help him to better understand the bigger picture and the emergent schemes.

Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Design, Process, Creativity, Participation, Collaboration, Democracy

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.87-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 566.367KB).

Alexandre Joyce

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada


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