24 September 2011

Mechanical-Mechanical Turk (for the Enterprise)

Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a crowd surfing tool to help maximize the liquidity in the work force. If task X will take 1000 hours to complete, using the power of the crowd, you could break this task up and get 100 people working on it, thus completing the task in 10hrs. (Aside: Amazon's service is affectionately named after Wolfgang von Kempelen's 1770 chess-playing machine pictured above

Unfortunately, most enterprises have become even more guarded about intellectual property leakage that Amazon's service mostly inaccessible to large organizations. Yet, it is in large enterprises that could most benefit from a local Mechanical Turk service:

  • To varying degrees all employees have spare cycles that go unused
  • In large organizations, department boundaries prevent collaboration and utilizing
  • Route tasks are often solved with spending money on consultants or third party services
  • New ideas are often stifled because of lack of time/energy to initiate and build momentum

The larger an organization becomes, the more in-efficient it becomes. This is a function of increased bureaucracy, department silos and political relationships. A private Mechanical Turk service would help break down these barriers and leverage the spare brain power and time in the organization without having to worry about intellectual property leakage. A private Mechanical Turk service would befit the enterprise by:

  • increasing net productivity
  • decrease departmental silos
  • foster innovation and skunk-works projects
  • increase collaboration and idea sharing

What other ways could the enterprise benefit from having a private mechanical turk?