The 3 Sources of Happiness, and what they can teach about successful projects

The 3 Sources of Happiness, and what they can teach about successful projects:

When I realized I wanted to expand my online presence I was concerned that the duplicate posting on several networks would serve no more than to allow people to read what I post in the manner in which pleases them. As it turns out, however, I am learning a lot from every community I join, and enjoy the small if important differences between each blogging/microblogging/social service.

What I enjoyed this time specifically was finding some nice blogs on psychology through the networking process (like the one linked here) which is an interest of mine, but also, in my opinion, an important aspect of anything we do – understanding psychology, even in it’s basics, allows you to at least recognize research that can support your work, and maybe even apply some of the research methodologies to it. I looked at the linked article from the perspective of developing crowdsourcing solutions for instance, as it is my current technology of interest.

Any crowdsourcing project requires, from the little I’ve read and researched, four components:

  1. A needed service –  one that can’t be completed by one human or by a computer – that can be split into component tasks that are each achievable by a single human being.
  2. A method to assign the component tasks to crowdsourcers efficiently.
  3. A method to combine the component tasks (which could be planned as a new task in the project) that also ensures no errors were made.
  4. An incentive for the crowdsourcers to do the task.

I find that each of these requirements can benefit from applying knowledge from the ranks of psychological research:

  1. To define a service well enough to be able to split it into tasks is hard. Applying some of the critical thinking needed for psychology research questions can only help. If the task is a cognitive one, understanding the building blocks of cognition is a main task of cognitive psychology.
  2. Workflows for organisations are often devised not by managers, but by professional advisors, who studied organisational psychology. This field of study could support the workflow of assigning component tasks to croudsourcers efficiently and provide tools to measure this efficiency.
  3. Once again, defining the combination process professionally can make it into a human task – another link in the chain. But even if you chose an algorithm to combine your workers’ tasks – understanding the human mind, cognition and though processes have been essential in algorithm development (a research paper written about Foldit, the protein modeling game, showed that users discovered during one year of collaboration a modeling algorithm than matched the efficiency of a professional grade algorithm developed for years).
  4. Inciting people is also something psychologists study – publicity, payment models, ranking – any method you chose to reward croudsources can only benefit from being backed by psychological research than can help you gather a crowd for the project. The article linked, for instance, could serve as a great guide for a crowdsourcing project – by developing microtasks in a way that is enjoyable, challenging, and supporting an important project (you’d have to convince them of that, off course!) would make people more inclined to contribute, even if they’re not payed for it, as it would bring them joy.

And isn’t that, after all, the greatest service to give?

via tumblr at January 10, 2012 at 01:56AM. Originally posted on


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