I love avocados, buy a bunch of them every week. The last few months I’ve been totally disappointed by the non-pleasant brownish surprise lurking under an otherwise neutral, normal looking avocado surface. This made me think about the potential synergetic relationship between avocados and crowdsourcing – Let me explain…
So, avocados are stuffed full of essential fatty acids and recognized to boost brain functionality. Hence, on a crowd level, more avocado eating might make the world a smarter place. However, I’ve identified some obvious imperfections in the avocado consumer market, leading the world to waste a whole lot of avocado, and along with them those important nutrients that, which on a large scale, could improve the health and cognitive processing ability of the crowd.
So what you normally do when you go avocado shopping is look at the surface (preferably even), the shape (preferably regular), and then, unlike most purchases at the grocery store you also go for the squeeze, gripping the avocado to assess the quality of the contents (preferably slightly squeezable, evenly soft). The process leads us to either reject or accept the individual avocado. Given the the high demands of a good avocado, even surface, regular shape and the perfect squeeze factor; a lot of avocados end up rejected, and gets tossed back into renewed anonymity amongst fellow rejects.
In relative measures, the complex process of asssessing avocado quality requires a lot of cognitive processing. Yet, the moment we reject an avocado, tossing it into the anonymous pile, this cognitive processing is wasted. It would be preferable to involve the crowd to pool this processing into some sort of common good, like say, invite them to divide the avocados into 2-3 different categories. This would reduce waste on many levels (of time, of avocado).
Until we seize the intelligence of the crowd, and design an avocado assessment system in which our experiences help others make more informed choices, we will keep repeating the mistakes others have already made, we also increase the sum of mistakes as the squeezing process reduces the overall quality of the avocado, incrementally increasing the probability of rejection. It might seem like a stupid example, but this little everyday story of wasted intelligence, shows the need to find ways to crowdsource intelligence, not only in online settings but in real life.
Tapping into, and pooling experiences will enable us to squeeze the most out of the potential of the crowd and the resources handed to us. Crowdsourcing enables us to reduce waste and make more of less – a formula that, in addition to avocados, might just end up making the world a smarter place.