It takes a village to raise a child. ~ African Proverb
Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won't eat you. ~ African Proverb
A single bracelet does not jingle. ~ Congolese Proverb
The popular belief that Crowdsourcing of skills was introduced less than a decade ago in Africa is far from the truth. Even in pre-colonial Africa, there are instances where Kings and Queens would seek advice outside of council and offer a great prize to the commoner with the best input.
With Ushahidi as an example, Africa has certainly been at the forefront of new-age crowdsourcing (specifically using distributed knowledge) to solve social challenges.
Crowdsourcing in Africa using Crowd Wisdom or Crowd Creation has, however, seen less traction.
Globally, finding a freelancer to get a project off the ground has become drastically less costly than using traditional methods. In March for instance, title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Pepsi invited people to create advertisements for their next edition of the IPL Twenty20 tournament which started earlier this month. Indian citizens (18 years old and above) are currently sharing their 30 second commercials on Youtube. Pepsi will select 5 winners and the 6th will be selected using Crowd Voting. The contest is open until the end of May 2015.
In Africa, a few platforms focus on the skills market.
More niche than the above crowd sourcing platforms, is a platform that provides you access to creatives for marketing campaigns and brand expansion.
True to form, the startup, Springleap, pivoted based on "validated learning" from being a Crowd Creation platform with T-Shirt Design Contests, to what now provides "180,000 advertising agency creatives and strategists to strengthen marketing campaigns and discover trends."
We hired sales, marketing & ops thking we were in growth mode, but still had some product/market fitting to tend to #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
We came across a new way to tap into the creative minds of our 22,000 strong community and tested a few product models #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
Clients started wanting access to the creative minds of our 22,000 strong community and so we tested a few product models #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
We’ve raised about R14 million in funding from intl and SA investors. Now planning our global domination as we speak :) #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
Using a self-coined title, Trevor Wolfe is one of the head honchos at SpringLeap.
I spend most days either w/ clients, on sales calls, & making sure my teams in JHB and CT have all resources they need to grow #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
@iafrikan that was a secret...up until now I guess :). Will definitely keep you updated.— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
Trevor has an extensive background in the startup scene which we hope to tap into at our upcoming event (announcement to be made soon).
Experienced acquisitions, mass layoffs, media scandals, 80hr work weeks, politics, success & lotsa pain & failure.Got really tired #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
Focused on growth metrics (CAC, LTV, CPL) then growth pains (training, relocation, scaling). Team went from 5 when I joined to 140 #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
Asked about his thoughts on popular criticism of Crowdsourcing, such as promotion of cheap/free labour and exploitation, Trevor had this to say:
The crowd has changed how brands connect with fans, how governments are held accountable, & how info is collected and shared #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
Used ethically, it offers flexibility for biz to grow & scale, creating more full time jobs while keeping unnecessary overhead low #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
We compensate our creatives at an avg. of R500 p/hour so hopefully we are leading by example, but we should shame the bad apples #iAfrikan— Trevor Wolfe (@trevorwolfe) February 18, 2015
With Africa Rising, there's a huge space that Springleap is filling. Such cost-effective access to local creatives will serve many companies, big and small, desiring to run campaigns or expand to different parts of the continent.
Springleap will also benefit from the popular trend among creatives to move from traditional 9-to-5 employment to freelance agencies. The rest of the interview with Trevor Wolfe can be viewed here. Remember to keep an eye out for an iAfrikan event with Trevor Wolfe as speaker.
Cover Image Credit: Frère Joseph Cornet