The act of taking a job traditionally performed by an employee and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

Internet Social Network

The health care industry has crowdsourced everything from pharmaceutical research and development to tracking H1N1 outbreaks. While you may have experts on your staff, tapping a larger, diverse community has repeatedly shown to be more successful in generating better results. If DoD can introduce these powerful new collaborative technologies in a secure environment, the possibilities to streamline bureaucratic processes are endless.

Wikipedia explained by Common Craft

Crowdsourcing in DOD and IC

Crowdsourcing Reading List

Crowdsourcing Sites

Crowdsourcing Articles and Papers

One Idea – Crowdsourcing Requirements and Analysis of Alternatives
When DoD identifies a capability gap, a high-performance team is compiled to develop the requirements and often drive quickly to a common materiel solution. Imagine what crowdsourcing could provide to the early stages of requirements definition, analysis of alternatives, and selection of a materiel solution to become a program. Instead of a small team of user and acquisition representatives, what if DoD crowdsourced the problem and tapped the entire defense community (operators, acquirers, engineers, and industry) for solutions. A sample process for crowdsourcing:

  • Department identifies a capability gap
  • Capability gap is published online
  • Online crowd is asked to identify solutions
  • Crowd submits materiel and non-materiel solutions
  • Crowd vets solutions
  • Operational and acquisition leaders approve material solution
  • Recognize those who contributed to the winning solution
  • Department has a better solution sooner.

By tapping an expansive network, the innovative approaches will be developed and expanded upon by others, making the final product a refined solution that by far outweighs what the highest performing team could come up with after being locked in a room for a few weeks. Users of existing systems, even in other Services and agencies, may identify a fielded system that could address the identified gap. Labs and DARPA can identify technologies in their development pipeline to apply to the solutions. Industry—particularly small businesses and those traditionally not in the defense arena—could recommend solutions including their own existing system or capability.

In addition to crowdsourcing products, with the advancement of collaborative web-based tools, we can leverage the crowd to co-create strategies. In 2009, Army Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center’s Concepts Development and Experimentation Directorate, demonstrated his support for crowdsourcing when he released the 2009 Army Capstone Concept online for public comment on how the Army plans for future armed conflict in 2016-2028. There is enormous potential to co-develop innovative strategies across DOD, other Government Agencies, and Industry through leveraging crowdsourcing strategies and platforms.


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