Crowdsourcing has a long history. Here are two important crowdsourcing stories that changed the way humans eat and travel.
This brief history tells two stories giving the challenge, prize, community, and outcomes.
Napoleon and His Hungry Army
The Challenge. In the early 19th century, Napoleon was conquering of Europe. He employed vast armies, fighting long campaigns. The problem was feeding them all. Keeping his armies fed throughout the year was made more difficult by harsh European winters in which fresh produce was scarce and hard to transport with spoiling.
The Prize. The French government offered a 12 000 franc prize to anyone who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food.
The Innovator Community. Inventors, bakers, and restauranteurs throughout Europe.
The Outcomes. Nicolas Appert, a French confectioner and brewer, observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked. He developed a method of sealing food in glass jars. He is known as the father of canning. His technology paved the way for what we know of as canned food.
So think of Napoleon and his hungry army next time you are enjoying a can of tomato soup!
Raymond Orteig, A Guy Who Accelerated Transatlantic Travel
The Prize. In 1919 Raymond Orteig wanted to push the limitations of what humans believed was possible. He created a $25,000 reward (equivalent to $353,000 in 2017) called the Orteig Prize. The challenge was simple and daring.
The Challenge. Fly non-stop from New York to Paris. No one had ever accomplished this in the year 1919 nobody did for many years.
The Innovator Community. Aviator’s within the Allied Forces.
Outcomes. Orteig said his offer would be good for five years. Five years came and went. No one accomplished the feat. No one even tried. In 1926, Orteig extended the term of his offer another five years. This time around aviation technology had advanced to a point where some thought it might actually be possible to fly across the vast Atlantic. Six men died in the attempt.... Charles Lindbergh was not one of them. He flew across the Atlantic, won the prize, and forever advanced the state of human travel.
Interested in building your own challenge? Learn the process and get helpful resources here.