Crowdsourcing is the act of tapping a large group of people, often with the help of the worldwide web, with the goal of finding new funding or ideas. This concept is alive and well in its application to the t-shirt industry in the US, as evidenced by pioneering retailers such as Threadless, which solicits its designs from independent designers and artists, and the idea is starting to go global. This hasn’t been without its problems, though, as it has been implemented in India.
Crowdsourcing, in this case, hasn’t always produced the best results. India’s Tantra, for example, does accept submissions from the public, but is still relying on its own designers for 80% of their final products. Similar retailers Chimp and Mumbai’s Inkfruit are experiencing similar problems sourcing ideas from the public. One of the reasons cited is that while there are a great many talented artists out there, a relatively small percentage of them have the computer graphics skills necessary to capture and represent their ideas in the proper format.
Another problem is lack of originality. Many submissions are unsuitable as they’re complete knockoffs of earlier popular designs, or simply incorporate others’ intellectual property, such as well-worn quotes. However, once the people and the computer technology are better in sync, Indian retailers can expect better results from using online crowdsourcing.