This is a process driven experiment. One that includes designing a flag, and verifying that design; choosing locations to make the flag that are somehow representative of China; finding retail outlets that sell or can customise mat in these locations; managing risk that the goal will be discovered; sending money pseudo-anonymously; making, shipping; and ultimately assembling the mats into a giant flag at TEDx Factory 798. Of the ~20 discrete tasks there a number of sub-tasks including quality control and making micro-payments to the various players.
For this experiment a local crew was the primary Chinese speaking interface to the vendors. Furthermore an accountant role set up to handle money payments (I have no idea who this is). From here in on in ‘we’ is: myself, my assistant, other people that are partaking in the experiment, wittingly or otherwise.
We deliberately set no final deadline for this experiment, with the pace of responses and our own need to reflect on the decision dictating the final delivery. A Sina Weibo account was set up here (Chinese, account required) to share out progress and point people to tasks that required input. We made no attempt at building a Weibo following wanting to understand how growth evolves organically in response to the tasks and after the goal of the experiment is known. We’re only expecting traffic after the experiment is complete.
At the outset of the experiment we were unsure as the optimal number of people required to complete all the tasks, and make the flag. Crowd sourcing is often assumed to involve engaging with more people – ‘the crowd’ rather than less. We suspect we need to build enough of a community to make engaging in tasks easy, but small enough to manage/guide and minimise the risk the the final goal would be discovered. We hope to tease out the optimal numbers for each stage by the end of the experiment.