[iDC] Introduction: Florian Alexander Schmidt

Florian Alexander Schmidt mail at florianschmidt.co
Tue Jun 17 11:47:31 UTC 2014

Hi everybody, sorry for being late. Very happy to be part of Digital Labor 2014! 

I am a writer, designer and researcher from Berlin and a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art in London. I am doing research on the Crowdsourcing of Design and the Design of Crowdsourcing. 

I have a background in communication design, and I worked as a designer for many years. Parallel to my practical design work, I have been writing about design for many years. In 2006, I wrote the book Parallel Realitäten (Niggli), on Second Life and the design of virtual worlds, and in 2010 I co-authored the book Kritische Masse (form+zweck), on Web 2.0 and the blurring lines between amateurs and professionals in design. 

In 2009, I organised the conference Volkssport Design at the Museum for Communication in Berlin – the event was attended by more than 400 designers and among the speakers were also managers of different crowdsourcing platforms. The controversy surrounding that mode of production played an important role at the conference. For me, this was the starting point to further investigate crowd design and why it operates differently than other seemingly similar forms of participatory creation online. At the moment, I am also working on a book on Crowd Work, together with the IG Metall, Germany’s largest labour union. The book will be published in autumn 2014.

My thesis is an investigation into the methods of crowd design and how they differ from concepts such as commons based peer production, open design or microtasking. My research question is: Can the crowdsourcing of design be organised in a way that is fair and sustainable for all stakeholders? Part of my research is based on participant observation as a designer on different crowd design platforms. 

At #dl14,I will juxtapose and discuss the methods of different crowdsourcing platforms for design work, namely 99design, jovoto, open IDEO, Lego Ideas and Quirky – especially in regard to ethics and fairness, and in contrast to other forms of crowd labour. 

• A talk that I recently gave at re:publica in Berlin is available on YouTube: ‘Crowdsourcing Design: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’  http://youtu.be/F9Xjd4Auo34

• A longer paper, ‘For a Few Dollars More – Class Action Against Crowdsourcing’, can be found here: http://www.aprja.net/?p=836

• The follow up paper ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Why Crowdsourcing Needs Ethics’, can be found here:

Everything else you find here: www.FlorianAlexanderSchmidt.de
I am not on Facebook but on Twitter: @floparallel   

Looking forward to meeting you all,

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