Crowd sourcing as a model of problem solving in global health governance

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By Anna Guryanova, Young Voices Blog

Multinational corporations and global research institutes restlessly seek to excel their methods of data analysis and gathering by creating leading and innovative strategies in science and technology.  In recent times, such corporations as Kraft, Nokia, Proctor & Gamble, Muji[1] and Philip Morris have turned to crowd sourcing, a new tool for analysis.

Crowd sourcing has become one of the most prolific innovations in global sciences, technology and business development. The idea behind it:  use human and social capital in the most efficient way without increasing spending on technology. Crowd sourcing is based on joint action of professionals in the field. The emergence of crowd sourcing highlights the new trend in science and technology: people working together to innovate and create extraordinary data and find new solutions for extant challenges. Given the increased spread of infectious diseases and other threats to human security, cooperation is more necessary now than ever before.

Among the most exemplary projects that utilizes crowd sourcing as a data analysis tool in global health is the sbv IMPROVER Challenge, also known as the System Biology Verification project. Sbv IMPROVER has further advanced crowd sourcing and implemented crowd-verification, a strategy scientists use to verify networks. It shows us what we can create when we combine science, technology and organized human and social capital. Researchers who are participants of the challenge compete for grants and opportunities to present their data at the sbv IMPROVER Symposium, an international symposium that features the work of scientists from Belgium, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the US.[2]

The project demonstrates how effective crowd sourcing is in building, testing and validating biological models with a global approach both in bioinformatics and communications. The strategy of the SBV Improver developers has implications for a wide variety of industries including pharmaceutical market, biotech, nutrition, and environmental safety.

Crowd sourcing is an innovative way to bring together research scientists whose areas of research overlap. Still being in its developing stage, crowd sourcing has the greatest potential of becoming the game changer for the global health sciences and global human development. It can be seen as a liberating and uniting tool for expedited innovation. In the global context crowd sourcing and crowd-verification can and should be used in situations of emergency, caused by viruses and infectious diseases which threaten global human security, when there is need for fast mobilization of human capital besides mobilization of WHO, Red Cross, the UN and other international actors.

[1]Howe, Jeff. “Crowdsourcing: A Status Update.” Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business. New York: Three Reverse, 2008. Print.