Crowdsourcing The Indian Rupee Symbol

A few years ago, the British Royal Mint crowdsourced the design of new coins. That competition attracted 4,000 entries from 500 people. Anyone was eligible to compete. Specially invited artists, Royal Mint engravers and artists from other countries competed with people of all ages, from everywhere.

Today, a jury selected by the Indian government picked a new symbol for the Indian rupee – to rival similar symbols for the US dollar ($), the euro (€), the UK pound (£) and the Japanese Yen (¥). The new rupee symbol was picked from over 3,000 entries submitted in a crowdsourcing competition to design the new symbol (the winner received $5,352 in cash). Udaya Kumar, a post-graduate student submitted the winning design.

India wanted to differentiate its currency from neighboring Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka – all of these countries used the abbreviation “Rs”.

The new symbol will be included in the “Unicode Standard” to ensure that it’s easily displayed in electronic and print media (this process can take up to two years). explained Kumar’s inspiration for the new symbol:

Kumar’s concept, an official said, is based on the Tricolour and “arithmetic equivalence”. While the white space between the two horizontal lines gives the impression of the national flag with the Ashok Chakra, the two bold parallel lines stand for ‘equals to’, representing balance in the economy, both within and with other economies of the world.

As you’ve read on our blog, the U.S. Government has embraced crowdsourcing for public and private innovation. It’s refreshing to see other governments also embrace crowdsourcing.