BCIC-New Ventures Competition awards $123,000 first-prize package to Hiretheworld.com
The BCIC Awards recognize the incredible achievements of BC’s technology entrepreneurs – highlighting their valuable contribution to BC’s technology community. They focus on the entrepreneurial talent of individuals as well as the commercialization potential of companies in the early stages of technology commercialization.
Jim Hudson, BDes, CGD, GDC President, responds:
“I’m very surprised the BC Innovation Council would award $100,000+ to Hiretheworld.com for a business idea that has the real potential to negatively impact the design, advertising and marketing industry of British Columbia. This decision undermines the value of design, and it puts the provincial government in a position of supporting cheap global outsourcing as opposed to incubating and fostering growth of British Columbia based creative firms. It also undermines the provinces tax revenue from the creative industry. I would hardly call a web company promoting cheap labour “innovative”.
By the way, there are already many web sites in existence exploiting hungry designers, (99Designs.com is one) so Hiretheworld.com is simply another knockoff, hardly what I would call innovative.”
Jon Whipple, CGD, VP Ethics, BC Chapter:
“…when we read with amazement that Hiretheworld, a Burnaby startup, had won $100K, we were deeply chagrined. While the world of crowdsourcing and social media continues to grow and inspire hundreds of companies of this type, the focus on other aspects of economic growth and development (especially design and creative disciplines that are crucial in the 21st century) seem all but ignored.
That there are many companies doing what Hiretheworld does already (99Designs, The Logo Factory, Crowdspring, Springwise, Guerra Creative, Designcrowd, and more) seems not to have played a significant role in your decision and award. Nor the fact that by their own admission, the government has lost about $6500 in taxes on a single contract through this service. Based on their example they proudly hold up for the $300 x 187 options = $56,100 value of work drained from creative industries and the potential tax base.
Design Week 2010, an international conference of professional designers, occurred in Vancouver in April and the BC government could only provide one tenth of the amount that was awarded to this company. This, in spite of the opportunity that raising British Columbian designers’ profile on an international scale and opening new markets for our services represents a far greater long-term economic expansion for the province.
It seems to us that endorsing some manner of fashionable crowdsourcing project, which in the long run will create neither jobs or design skills for BC’s economy, is a poor and dangerous choice for economic growth.”
David Coates, CGD, FGDC, former GDC president,
Partner, Ion Branding + Design:
“I was appalled to read the lead article in the Sun business section yesterday “Burnaby tech firm attains global reach”. Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear about local success stories, but this one simply rubs me the wrong way. Basically this company is crowdsourcing – not a new practice and definitely not innovative. As a practicing certified graphic designer, I am prohibited by my professional association the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (gdc.net) to participate in speculative work. I’m not going to get into the whole argument against spec work here as that’s a whole other topic – let’s just say it’s simply bad business practice. Crowdsourcing is in effect spec work as it is work done for free in anticipation of winning a “contest”. At it’s best, crowdsourcing is a community working together to find solutions to problems. At it’s worst, it’s websites like hiretheworld.com, 99designs.com and a myriad of others taking advantage of a crowd of (mostly amateur) designers by dangling a few dollars of prize money in front of them in a beauty contest for companies trying to get something for little investment.
I find it unbelievable that the provincial government would, contrary to their own rhetoric about the value of design, recognize a company like this that undermines a whole sector of small business and taxpayers in the province. To add insult to injury, they’ve awarded them $123,000.00 through the BCIC New Ventures Program – it’s tantamount to throwing the entire design sector under the bus – ironically, a whole sector of innovators.
Global crowdsourcing – where’s the benefit to British Columbians? All I see is potential revenue and taxes being shipped offshore.” [This letter was also published in the Vancouver Sun.]
Dave Mason, FGDC
The issue here isn't 'crowdsourcing design' or any other service.
The issue here is 'copycatting innovation' and getting a $123,000 award for it.
Where are the details of the breakthrough innovation in what at this point appears to be a me-too idea?
David Berman, R.G.D., CGD, FGDC,
David Berman Communications,
“The challenge of crowdsourcing sites like these is a potentially daunting one for our industry. The solution lies in certification, designers as strategists and a global approach to educating buyers. We also have to share our best practices with countries with emerging markets.
Send a message to BCIC.
Read more at numiq-media.com (scroll down for more articles)
Check the GDC Listserv for ongoing discussion of the issue.
Write your MP, the Premier, opposition members and the Innovation Council and let them know that professional designers do not support this type of speculative work.