Let DARPA Tell You Why You Need the Crowd

Written by Ramon Nuez

Apr 9, 2012

Do you still have doubt or uncertainty in the application of crowdsourcing?

I hear the arguments all the time — “there are no standards,” “there is no accountability,” “are they skilled labor,” etc. And in all honesty they are not stupid questions. They are incredibly good questions that not only deserve an incredibly good answer but some “real-world” examples.

So what if I told you that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is using crowdsource in its manufacturing. I bet that peaked your interests?

And why is DARPA using crowdsourcing in its manufacturing, simple — designing and building things for the Pentagon take a really long time and costs can skyrocket. Case in point — a tank — from conception to production takes one to two decades. Obviously, DARPA would like to shave off a few years so the agency is turning to crowdsourcing for a little help.


 

As many of you already know crowdsourcing is used by many in the private industry and government agencies, to not only build products faster but cheaper. So DARPA has tapped Vanderbilt University to set up and manage vehicleforge.mil. This is a development tool that will get small companies and teams involved in a process that has been traditionally dominated by companies like GE.

The Vehicleforge.mil program, Dr. Wallace said, will allow solo inventors or small teams to tap into those capabilities. A vehicle body and chassis design, submitted as code, could be plugged into the Vehicleforge.mil platform and tested for aerodynamics by in a virtual wind tunnel, for example. “The design models all hook up together,” Dr. Wallace said. “It’s an emergent way to design complex systems.”

source: Bits

Now just think about it, what if “Your Company” built a tool that allowed the crowd to compete and build products that could be virtually tested. Better yet, why not have the crowd build the tool for “Your Company?”

Various industries could use this approach, successfully — automotive, computer software, computer hardware, etc. And what is the incentive — present a contest with prizes for best design being distributed at certain milestones.

So do you still have doubts, in the power of crowdsourcing? I don’t.

image source: Bits

About Author

About Author

Ramon Nuez

Ramon Nuez is a founder, fine arts photographer, digital artist, writer and wannabe harmonica player.

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