Innovation

How Crowds Can Drive Digital Economy’s Success

team crowdsourcing

As the digital economy grows,  you can bet that crowdsourcing will become an even bigger part of innovation and disruption, along with hiring and investment — all of which will serve to help build only new companies but vital digital infrastructure.

One big recent example in favor of such points comes from Goldman Sachs.

A Goldman Sachs program called GS Accelerate enables Goldman employers to pitch their bosses on potential new companies, according to CNBC. “The lure for participants was simple: Survive the rigorous six-month culling process, and winners can ditch their day jobs to run a new company backed by Goldman,” the report states. In March, in fact, 500 submissions were entered — five won funding by Goldman Sachs. “Winning projects include a software platform for the alternative investment industry called Scribe and an app store for user-generated programs called Panorama,” the report added.

Hiring Needs

As far as hiring goes, crowdsourcing promises to play a big role in the coming years — perhaps even decades — for the vital task of securing the web.

Cybersecurity is one of the main tasks in the world of digital commerce and payments, and it’s a task that is getting more attention from consumers, companies, regulators and others. But there’s a big problem in this realm — a shortage of cybersecurity experts, the people with the training and expertise to defend retail and payments from increasingly sophisticated online criminals.

That shortage served as the foundation of a PYMNTS discussion with Jay Kaplan, CEO and co-founder at Synack, which bills itself as a crowdsourced penetration platform, a company that finds online security vulnerabilities for its clients. Synack was started about six and a half years ago, he said, with its founders all having cybersecurity experience at the federal government level.

Now, even as cybersecurity becomes a more important job for all kinds of companies — not least, businesses building innovative products and services, along with deeper consumer experiences, for payments and commerce — there is a shortage of professionals in that field, one reason for the move to the crowdsourcing model.

Some 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will need to be filled by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. “There is a massive talent crisis,” he said, and companies looking to increase their defenses against fraud, data breaches and hackings will have to deal with that issue. “Even if you hire a big consulting firm” to map out potential holes in an organization’s cybersecurity, he told PYMNTS, that work is limited by what the particular consultants know and don’t know. “If you miss just one vulnerability,” he said, that can lead to financial and reputational — and perhaps even regulatory — disaster for that business.

The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is being felt across the industry and has led to various responses. As covered by PYMNTS, for instance, the issue also applies to the federal government, often a training ground for cybersecurity experts who then enter private industry.

Paid To Go Home

Delivery, too, is turning to crowdsourcing as logistics become even more important to the digital economy.

Imagine getting paid to go home. (Really, take a moment and do so. Feels nice, right?) Now, imagine not only getting paid to go home, but doing so in a way that pleases one’s employer, neighbor, girlfriend’s boss or the person on the other end of that daily, mundane trip.

It’s not a fantasy, but a reality for a growing number of drivers in the United States. That includes, as Roadie CEO Marc Gorlin said, a Delta ticket agent in the California Bay Area who, through Roadie’s digital technology, delivers misplaced bags to travelers who happen to be located along the route that the agent uses to drive home after shifts.

“He takes a bag once or twice a week,” Gorlin told PYMNTS Matchmakers. “He’s basically getting paid to go home.”

The wisdom of the crowds may or may not be a fantasy, but there is doubt that the digital economy is coming to depend more on crowdsourcing.

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