Human-Centered Research at Crowd Scale

PI: Prof. Michael Bernstein, PhD


Solving wicked problems through design has traditionally relied on small expert teams, excluding much of the global population and reducing both the diversity and volume of generated solutions. Open innovation and crowdsourced design efforts have attempted to break this pattern by inviting anyone around the world to contribute, but they follow extremely structured processes (e.g., “submit an idea”, followed by “vote on ideas”) that do not reflect the open-ended and iterative nature of design. We introduce crowd research, a public and open effort in human-centered technology research that has thus far engaged over one thousand people online in integrated design and technical contributions. Crowd research introduces an iterative process via a weekly cycle of open contribution, peer assessment and synchronous collaboration that produces the next week’s iterative goal. Because integrated collaborative efforts can obscure individual contributions, crowd research utilizes a networked credit-distribution process wherein participants collectively determine author order on the final publication. Crowd research has already resulted in one paper published at a top research venue in humancomputer interaction, and two more currently under review; participants worldwide have gone on to graduate programs at MIT, Cornell, UCSD, and others.