Five Innovative Ways the Crowd Has Been Put to Good Use

May 14, 2012 By IdeaConnection
Image by Stuart Miles

As practitioners of crowdsourcing and open innovation well know, turning to the crowd can lead to the creation of products and services faster and more effectively than if left in the hands of individuals.

Popular uses of the crowd include designing logos, solving technical problems and generating eco-friendly business ideas. But there really is no limit in what this global resource of innovators can be used for.

Here are five of the more unusual, but no less practical and valuable uses that the crowd has been put to:

Combating Marine Piracy – piracy on the high seas, particularly the Indian Ocean is a huge problem. The pirates are good at what they do and use sophisticated equipment to run their operations. The Office of Naval Research and the Naval Postgraduate School asked the crowd to come up with solutions via a video game project they developed with the Institute of the Future.

DARPA Shedder Challenge – an ingenious competition for ideas on how to reconstruct shredded documents. There were two principle aims – 1) Develop methods for reconstructing documents shredded by fleeing forces 2) identify how shredded US documents cold be read so countermeasures can be designed.

Creating New Laws There Ought to be a Law…or Not annual open innovation competition in California encourages the public to play a part in the creation of new laws.

Exposing Politicians’ Misdemeanours – The UK’s Guardian newspaper asked readers to help it go through expense claims and receipts of Members of Parliament to look for potential misuses of public money.

Rebuilding an Economy – Ireland, like a handful of other countries has been severely hit by the global economic crisis. To help rebuild its fortunes it launched Your Country Your Call, an open innovation contest for proposals that would create jobs and prosperity.

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Reader Comments

Really like the projects dealing with political involvement such as the Creating New Laws project and Exposing Politicians' Misdemeanors. It's programs like this that we need more of in order to get people more involved in the political process.

So many are bored and confused by politics that most won't want to give them a second thought, which is sad considering how much it can affect our everyday lives. Projects like these can show people exactly HOW their voice can be heard and WHAT they can do to help, and then it will actually be quantifiable.
Posted by Steve S. on May 16, 2012

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