Crowdsourcing Clinical Research

The Power of Crowdsourcing

In the mid-1990’s Microsoft started an encyclopedia called Encarta. Microsoft invested over a billion dollars and hired hundreds of Ph.D. researchers to build up their electronic encyclopedia.

In the early 2000s, Wikipedia started out with a few thousand dollars and some volunteer contributors. At the time, no one would have believed that Wikipedia would ever be bigger than Microsoft’s Encarta.

Yet, within 10 years, Wikipedia had over 100 times as many articles and over 50 times as many readers as Encarta. In 2011, Wikipedia had finally destroyed Encarta and it was shut down.

Wikipedia is one example of the power of collective intelligence and community innovation.  This is the magic of crowdsourcing.

crowdsourcingthe practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers

We can apply this power to discovering the optimal ways to prevent and minimize the severity of dementia and mental illness.

The first step is to create partnerships between the owners of the different silos of valuable data.

Next, individuals should be given the right to anonymously share their own data within the silos with researchers and data scientists.