Crowdsourcing R&D

The Feds are trying a new tactic in getting solutions to some of their problems: letting the public take a shot at it. On challenge.gov they'll pose problems with cash prizes and see what people can do to come up with the solutions. You can see some of what it will look like by visiting ChallengePost and seeing what private industry has done so far. Or, if you are a federal employee you can take a sneak peek right now.
Some of what's being talked about is First Lady Michelle Obama asking for apps and games to inspire kids to get healthy as part of her Let's (make children feel guilty for being fat again) Move campaign. Okay, being a little snarky. But when you keep cutting back recess and physical education, keep adding more homework, less active kids is what you're going to get. I doubt an iPhone app is going to change that. Though I know Mrs. Obama doesn't have dictatorial control over P.E. schedules in schools so I'll try to be nice.
Anyways, should be interesting to see what problems the government proposes (do you suppose it'll be 85% software requests?) and what solutions people contribute, or what kind of reaction there is from the public, if any. I'm kind of afraid it'll become like so many "internships" I see being offered for software engineers that really just want a code monkey at a cut rate. But it could be kind of neat as well. Anyways, I'm looking forward to the official launch. Any ideas what kinds of problems would be good to pose from the government to the public? Or where the public's strong points lay in providing solutions?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, hopefully it will be more like X prize than anything else. Although I'm sure there will be web traffic to be had showcasing some of the awesomely-crazy suggestions from people seeking money instead of solutions.