A TEDGlobal fellow for 2012 and a new friend of ours, Catarina Mota, is a passionate advocate of tinkering and the principles of open sourcing. She is co-founder of openmaterials.org, and the site, altLab.org, which is celebrating Hardware Freedom Day on April 20 in Lisbon, Portugal. Okay, it’s a bit of a schlep – but if you can make it, there will be lively discussions and constructive hacking by all.
The dictionary may still define tinkering as mindless fiddling around, but anyone knows that creative endeavors from architecture to poetry require the practice, and a lot of it. We celebrate those individuals who can look at what is in the world now and build something new from those parts.
Online crowdsourcing is the concept of using the data, talent or money of a large number of people to solve a problem or launch an enterprise.
Sometimes the problem being solved is merely how to get more customers and visibility for a company. Many businesses, from Cocoa-Cola and Doritos to skateboard and jelly makers use logo and ad creation contests as marketing while tapping into the talent out there in the crowd. In these instances the crowdmember participant receives prize money, or at least lots of jelly.
As you probably know, “hacking” in the computer world no longer exclusively refers to an activity that will send you to jail. Whether it’s called a hackathon, hackfest or codefest, programmers, platform developers, and graphics and interface designers are getting together to solve problems and create new apps and systems. Think of it as code brainstorming where teams often work competitively for many hours – or days – to see which, in the end, can demonstrate the best results.