How the Military is Embracing Open Innovation

May 29, 2013 By IdeaConnection

FLYPMODEBranches of the military employ some of the keenest minds on the planet, scientists and engineers who devise sophisticated weapons and defense systems, vehicles, armor and clothing.

But they don’t have all the answers.  In recent years we have seen a number of open innovation contests as research agencies seek wider input into their R&D endeavors.  Here are three examples:

Apps for the Army

This was an open innovation mashup competition to help the army speed up its development of mobile software apps, to be able to deliver software applications as quickly as industry.  It was open to military personnel as well as civilians and there were five winning ideas. They included an app to help soldiers develop their own PT program, and an app that assists army personnel working in humanitarian relief.

Design the Next Humvee

A crowdsourcing contest organized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a new Humvee that could be used for combat reconnaissance and combat delivery and evacuation.  More than 150 viable designs were submitted and voted on, and the winning blueprint was FLYPMode (seen in the picture above).  It has 35” tires and a 430-horsepower V8 engine.  A full working prototype was built in just 14 weeks.

Gamification Techniques to Tackle Somali Pirates

Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) is an online game that involved 800 players from the military, federal and foreign governments, and NATO.  There was also a version for the general public. Players had to deal with a number of war-game scenarios and devise solutions.  It was the first major effort by American military to combine crowdsourcing and gaming in war-game exercises.

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