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Crowd Design

From Tools for Empowerment to Platform Capitalism

Design and Crowdsourcing

The digital revolution is interwoven with the promise to empower the user. Yet, the rise of centralised, commercial platforms for crowdsourced work questions the validity of this narrative. In Crowd-Design, Florian Alexander Schmidt analyses the workings and the rhetoric of crowdsourced work platforms by comparing the way they address the masses today with historic notions of the crowd. The utopian concepts of early online collaboration are taken as a vantage point from which to view and critique current and, at times, dystopian applications of crowdsourced work. The study is focused on the crowdsourcing of design tasks, but these specific applications are used to examine the design of the more general mechanisms employed by the platform providers to motivate and control the crowds.

Crowd-Design is as much about the crowdsourcing of design as it is about the design of crowdsourcing.

  • Examines the crowdsourcing of design as well as the design of crowdsourcing
  • Uncovers the underlying mechanisms

Author Information

Florian Alexander Schmidt, Professor for Conceptual Design and Media Theory at University of Applied Sciences HTW Dresden

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Audience: Designers, design researchers, media and cultural scholars

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