Innovation Hub

Encore: Crowdsourcing

By Kara Miller

Kickstarting Local Ideas

This week, we look at the power of crowdsourcing. What happens you pool wisdom, ideas, solutions — even money?

The co-founders of Supermechanical make their pitch to the crowd to help fund their project, Twine. 

First, we look at the crowdsourcing phenomenon, Kickstarter. A company started less than three years ago by a few guys who thought that people might be able to get friends and colleagues to fund each other’s projects.

"It's a website where people raise money for creative projects. People make films, they make records, they do art, photography, food -- any sort of thing that springs from the imagination. Someone comes on, and they say what they want to do, and they invite the public and their network to contribute money to their project," explained co-founder Yancey Strickler.

Users set a funding goal when they start their project, and donors' credit cards are only charged if the money is raised.

"It's all or nothing," Strickler said.

We're joined by two inventors and a professor who know Kickstarter well.


Crowdsourcing for Science, Medicine and Government

Part 1:


Part 2:


A crowd is seen in 2009, waiting for a Coldplay show to begin. Scientists and entrepreneurs are finding that crowds can do even more than this. (Anirudh Koul/Flickr)

The power of crowdsourcing isn't limited to start-ups. Next, we explore the role it plays in science, medicine and even municipal affairs.

Many CEO's are expected to solve problems. But we talk with one whose goal is to find them — medical, environmental, and technical — and send them out to the crowd.

One of those problems was finding a biomarker for Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which would allow scientists to begin working on a cure. And a scientists found it.

Plus, we explore how more cities are using crowdsourcing to identify and solve local problems.




About Innovation Hub

Each week, Kara Miller talks to Boston's most innovative thinkers, examining new ideas and potential solutions to today’s many challenges. Topics range from education to health care to green energy. Join us on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 10 p.m.

About the Host
Kara Miller Kara Miller
As a radio host, Kara Miller has interviewed thinkers from E.J. Dionne to Howard Gardner, Deepak Chopra to Lani Guinier. She is a panelist on WGBH-TV's "Beat the Press," as well as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The National Journal, The Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, and The International Herald Tribune.

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