This week we’re profiling top females in the crowdsourcing scene. 

By Terri Griffith (Chair, Santa Clara University Management Department)

The fourth annual CrowdConf was big news in San Francisco this week and I had the chance to catch up with some of the women building the foundations of crowdsoucing. From tiny tasks (e.g., tagging photos or identifying spam) to complex innovation programs, organizations can extend their staffing models to include the global online public.

suzan_webSuzan Briganti (Founder, CEO, & President, Totem Brand)
Briganti’s innovation consultancy moved into crowdsourcing when they saw that they could bring the innovation and creativity of the world to the US Fortune 500. Companies come to Totem looking for unique ideas, and as a result, the crowds that work through her company get to address fascinating topics. A recent one was “the future of digital scent.” Her clients received brilliant sketches, technical drawings, and videos — all curated by Totem. She said that is Totem’s secret sauce, the ability to talk to the client, formulate an interesting problem to present to the crowd, analyze the responses, and put those responses into a format that will add value to the client. As a result, the clients get access to a diversity unheard of from surveys or focus groups; the digital scent project was won by crowd members from Romania, South Africa, Uzbekistan, and Hungary.

lisaLisa Shields (Co-Founder and CEO, hyperWALLET Systems, Inc.)
Shields’ company helps the global crowd get paid, quickly, and in a form they can use. hyperWALLET enables payment to 60 countries, in 25+ currencies, and 20 languages. Shields was part of a panel of five at CrowdConf focused on how you pay the millions of workers in the crowd. They made very clear that though our work may easily cross international borders, payments that are compliant with the network of laws around money transfer are anything but easy. Wire transfers can be expensive and slow and the crowdworker may not have a bank. hyperWALLET brings their expertise to bear either through their own brand, or more likely, through a white label service to the one of the businesses enabling crowdwork.

josephy_tatiana_webTatiana Josephy (Head of Product, CrowdFlower)
Josephy had the honor of launching the latest version of the CrowdFlower platform at CrowdConf. She gave a live demonstration that amazed me. In less than five minutes, she clicked her way through the creation of a microtask “job.” (Microtasks are what many crowdworkers take on via Amazon Mechanical Turk. The CrowdFlower platform helps clients put their work into a format appropriate for the crowd, and then connects that work with contributors from more than 50 different sources of crowd talent.) Then, using the magic perfected by TV chefs, she showed us the results of a version started an hour before. In about an hour, 300 people from around the world had thoughtfully responded to a question about why they microtask. In my world of survey research, this was amazing. She could have just as easily create a job to tag photos, check for errors in data entry, or any other kind of job ripe for crowdsourcing. Note: CrowdFlower is the producer of CrowdConf.
Follow her on Twitter at @tatianajosephy.

Are women leaders especially well suited to leveraging the diverse skills of crowds?

Photo by netzkobold / Flickr.
terri-griffith-largeAbout the guest blogger: Terri Griffith is chair of the Management Department at Santa Clara University and the author of the award-winning book, The Plugged-in Manager: Get In Tune With Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive. Connect with her on Facebook or @TerriGriffith.