Crowdsourcing Our Way to Better Health

pulse-trace-163708_640Frankly, there are far too many complex problems going around that can’t be tackled by institutions and organizations on their own.  When it comes to improving our health, fighting diseases and prolonging lifespans, those challenges take on an extra measure of urgency as most of us want to stick around on the planet for as long as possible.

There are hundreds of situations where drug companies, hospitals and healthcare institutes have reached out to expert crowds to help them in their quests.  Here is a small collection of some of the open innovation health-related projects that have been featured on IdeaConenction’s website.

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Crowdsourcing Night Sky Images

NIMAThe space agency NASA needs your help to search through more than 1.8 million photos of the Earth taken during dozens of missions, from the Mercury missions of the 1960s to images captured by the International Space Station.

According to NASA, the pictures “could help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry.”

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$1 Million Open Innovation Challenge for Shrinking a Box

spanlsDo you have what it takes to change the future of energy and electricity? If so, The Little Box Challenge maybe just up your street.

A cool $1 million is up for grabs, courtesy of Google for the team that can create a smaller and cheaper power inverter.  An inverter is an electronic device that takes direct current from items such as solar panels and batteries and converts it into alternating current for use in cars, homes and offices for example.

According to Google, shrinking inverters will change the future of energy, enabling “more solar-powered homes, more efficient distributed electrical grids, and could help bring electricity to the most remote parts of the planet.“

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Five Innovation Contests that Made Our Lives Easier

640px-HK_Food_Grass_Jelly_Canned_with_Tinplate_aFor hundreds of years, innovation has been accelerated through prized-based competitions, inspiring inventors, artists, entrepreneurs and others to push their brains to the limits to create new ideas, concepts and opportunities. From the breakfast table to sea travel and international flight, innovation competitions have revolutionized our daily lives. Here are five innovation contests that have made our lives easier:

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Ford Drives into the Future with Open Innovation

LA1Every week there are new stories about companies launching open innovation and crowdsourcing initiatives. They hope they can successfully convert the awesome brainpower of the crowd into concrete innovations that propel them ahead in the marketplace.

One of the latest corporate giants to initiate an exciting new open innovation venture is the Ford Motor Company.

The multinational automobile maker has revealed plans of its Innovate Mobility Challenge Series to come up with novel mobility solutions in eight locations around the world.

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Two Awesome Prize-Based Innovation Contests

cashThere’s nothing like the lure of big money prizes to entice inventive brains to create novel and/or disruptive innovations. The premise is as old as the hills and today, it’s still a popular way to innovate.

Two of the most prominent prize competitions of the day are the £10 million Longitude Prize  and GE’s $1 million ecomagination open innovation challenge to help accelerate technology development in Canada’s oil sands.

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Saving Hawaii’s Rainforests with the Crowd

k1Hawaii’s native forests are under threat from invasive plants. Weeds such as Australian Tree Fern and African Tulip Tree are soaking up vital water resources that native flora needs. The situation is so serious that invasive species have been responsible for the destruction of more than half of Hawaii’s native forests.

To help combat the threat, Digital Globe and The Nature Conservancy are enlisting the crowd to help with a huge global initiative.

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Awesome Summer Reads for the Scientific Mind

Alona_Beach,_BoholSummer is well and truly underway, and attention now turns to vacation time, long lazy days on a palm-tree fringed beach lapped by pristine waters.  When you’re not sipping cocktails or splashing around in the surf, you may well want to have your nose in a good read.  So, to keep the old grey matter ticking over during your time off, here are some awesome summer science reading recommendations:

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Crowdsourcing for a Better World

arsenic-water-phytoremediation-filtration-Stephen-Honan-TED-Bangladesh-Condo.ca_-600x330If one or two minds can solve complex, seemingly intractable problems, just think what hundreds or thousands of brilliant brains can achieve. The potential and power of the crowd may well be helping companies to drive up their profits through innovations, but the paradigm is also one of the proven methodologies being used to tackle complex social issues and humanitarian problems.

IdeaConnection’s solvers recently supplied Chemists Without Borders with a number of novel solutions to help mitigate problems caused by arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh. But a little look at the crowdsourcing landscape will reveal numerous examples of the crowd being put into action for the common good.

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