NASA CoECI Presentaion on Crowdsourcing and Challenges
Presentation to Rice University Professional Masters of Engineering/Science Program.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NASA CoECI Presentaion on Crowdsourcing and Challenges
Power of the Crowd
Using Crowd-Based Challenges as
Tools for Engineering Projects
NASA’s Center of Excellence for
Collaborative Innovation (CoECI)
Steve Rader email@example.com
Rising Sea Levels
We are used to the model of “the expert”, that keeps up with
all of the tech advancements that we need for a given field.
In the past, our biggest struggle has been to find and keep
But now, the
need today is
the expert you
The pace of technology development is just too much.
keep up with
Even if you could find the right expert for your problem, could you afford them?
Would you be able to work through the red tape to get them to work with you?
What would you do with him after you have your answer and you
need to move to the next expert area?
What about all of the technology advancement that
is going on out there that doesn’t
NEED an expert…
it just needs you to find it!
It is all like looking for
by the INTERNET.
Internet User Growth from 2000-2012 and Potential
users by 2012
Not on the
% of Population
that is Online
LegendBased on table from: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
and more of
the ability to
The Tip of the Iceberg! Not only are the Billions of people around the world
rapidly getting online. Right now, the 2.8B people that ARE online are just
barely aware of these platforms and what they mean to them…
2.4 Billion People on the Internet
This “interest” in using their skills to make a difference
or win a prize outside of normal employment (at
night or on the weekends) can be described as….
People seem genuinely interested in engaging in
problem solving and being “the one” to make a
If two heads
Now consider how this cognitive surplus begins to become a powerful
force as more of the current 2.8 billion connected individuals join in the
efforts and the remaining 4.2 billion become connected on the Internet.
The possibilities to harness the creativity of the human mind are enormous!
Image: Illumination Entertainment, Universal Studios
But just because 2.8 Billion people
are connected does NOT mean
that they are organized ….
In fact it can be chaos.
In fact… it’s fascinating what global
connectivity has meant to many.
Networks & Communities
Engineers & Designers
Well formulated crowd-based platforms actively work to
build a community of users that are passionate enthusiasts.
for Privacy and
are built around
enabling people to
pursue their passion
and create a win-win
for the company and its
They provide structure
Communities do NOT
like to be exploited!
Why Does The Crowd Contribute?
Earn Money (real or virtual)
Have Fun (or pass the time)
Socialize with Others
Obtain Recognition or Prestige
Do Good (altruism)
Learn Something New
Obtain Something Else
Create Self-Serving Resource
Crowdsourcing & Human Computation Labeling Data & Building Hybrid Systems
by Matthew Lease, Assistant Professor at University of Texas at Austin on May 03, 2013
Effectively Using Communities
(in an innovative way)
(you didn’t know existed)
Innovation from Diversity found via Challenges
(Experience, Context/Perspective, Expertise)
Expert or Domain Focused MembershipDiverse Membership
High Quality Products/Services
(via Competition to get Best in Domain)
The Crowd Just
Gave Me 3500
Do I Do?
If you aren’t careful,
you end up sorting
through a heap of
potential solutions … …most of which ar
NOT what you need
innovative solutions is
really a lot more like
mining…. You need
special processes and
tools to extract the
gold from the ore.
22Executing a Crowd-Sourced Challenge
Pick the Winner(s)
Get Your Solution
IP licensing and/or transfer
Solution Filtering (optional)
to do all of
really helps to
mitigate the issues
associated with this
“too many solutions” problem.
ALL of these steps can help to
minimize the number of solutions
you end up needing to judge.
A well formulated problem statement
(with good success criteria)
A well designed challenge
(including setting the right prize amount)
We Can Use the Crowd as
a Force Multiplier…
…To Do MORE with LESS
This is an established and GROWING INDUSTRY!
Crowdsourcing is Mainstream
What is NASA Doing with Crowdsourcing?
NASA Innovation Pavilion
“One Stop Shop” Website which Lists ALL NASA Challenges
NTL Curated Community Challenges
Citizen Science Challenges
Space Apps Challenge
Tech Dev &
Duration Prizes Product Participation
First Things First!
NASA has some of
the most amazing
employees on the
Tap into that
Over 15,000 Registered Members
(25% of NASA’s 60,000 CS & Contractor Workforce)
15-20 Challenges per Year
Growth of the NASA@work
Community since October 2012
2-4 Active challenges
posted at any one time
New challenge posts every
People that work at
NASA want to make
Innovation & Problem Solving
Using Challenges with Diverse Communities to
develop unique and innovative approaches
to unsolved problems
NASA Innovation Pavilion on
of 350,000+ Solvers
Diverse Member Base
High Success Rate in
Solving Hard Problems
Map showing participation of 2900 solvers
from 80 countries in NASA’s pilot challenges
“Diverse perspectives and tools
enable collections of people to
find more and better solutions.”
Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem:
“The people you’d least expect to
solve a problem were exactly the
ones most likely to crack it.”
Author of Difference:
How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies
Diversity is the Key to Innovation
One MIT study into InnoCentive
revealed that solvers were more
successful when they had less
experience in the relevant discipline.
Some data suggests that as much as
70% of successful InnoCentive
challenge solutions are solved by
individuals outside of the challenge’s
specific technical domain.
“In 60 days, Roche was able to solve a problem that it
and its partner have been tinkering with and optimizing
for the last 15 years. The solutions provided actually
mirrored the entire history of Roche’s R&D programme.
All of the solutions Roche had tried came in. “
Swiss company with 80,000
employees, Roche operates in 150
countries and has R&D operations in
Europe, North America and Asia-
Roche is a world leader in in vitro
Julian Birkinshaw, MLabnotes, University of London Business School
Roche ran an InnoCentive challenge
$20,000 in prizes
Over 2800 registrants
Winning Submission: Barium tracers for atmospheric analysis
Winner was Ted
Rising Star, Texas
Galactic Cosmic Ray Mitigation
Finding ways to protect humans from the
effects of cosmic galactic rays in deep
Non-Invasive Intra-Cranial Pressure Monitoring
Finding methods to monitor the pressure in
the human brain that are non-invasive.
Strain Measurement of Vectran and Kevlar
Seeking improved methods for strain
measurement under very specific
conditions for inflatable habitat testing.
Leverage Competition to Optimize Complex
CODERS SUBMITTED SOLUTIONS DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO
SOLVE PROBLEM IDENTIFIED
RUSSIA, FRANCE, EGYPT, BELGIUM & US
122 654 89 5
Improve on NIH MegaBlast algorithm
for nucleotide sequence alignment
Winning solution performs 120x faster
ANTIBODY SEQUENCE ANNOTATION
47 min. 16 sec.4.3 hours
Over current method of
identifying asteroids in
the main belt of Asteroids
that orbit between Mars
625 Solutions Submitted
$74,124 in Prizes Awarded
Algorithm AND App
Optimized algorithm for tracking multiple
asteroids with an array of antennas.
Developing ideas for tools that use NASA
earth science data to help local
communities with climate resilience.
Planetary Data System (PDS) - Cassini
Image processing of Saturn rings data to
detect possible new satellites or moons.
Additional Recent Harvard/
TopCoder Algorithm Challenges
Using Competitions for Software Development
Image Credit: Wikipedia, Systems development life-cycle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_development_life-cycle (as of Mar. 27, 2013, 05:48 GMT).
Lunar Mapping and Monitoring Project (LMMP)
Has reduced image processing times from
18 hours to 3 hours.
Disruption/Delay Tolerant Network (DTN)
Attempting to solve a problem with
distributing security keys in a disrupted/
delayed network. Building out the protocol
ISS Food Intake Tracker
An iPAD app designed for the ISS to better
track their food intake (featured at the
Apple Developers Conference in 2014).
Software Development Challenges
Leverage Competition to Optimize
GrabCAD 30 Day challenge for $3000: 492 CAD Designs Submitted
Using New Methods to Search for New and
Emerging Technology to Meet NASA’s Needs
Searching for Technologies
Provides a “matching” service that finds
technologies and solutions from industry, academia,
and/or individuals for a given need/challenge.
Includes a 130,000 member community and links to
over 16,000 commercial entities.
Very effective (and cost effective) in searching for
existing products or development efforts.
Bone Density Measurement
Monitoring of Water and
Non-Invasive Intra-Cranial Pressure Measurement
“Much more than we expected! Very pleasantly surprised
that this process exposed so many potential solutions with
such wide breadth and depth”
“Learned that we should have revisited technologies that
we rejected earlier
81 Leads Identified
3 High Interest Solutions
5 Other Interesting Solutions
6 Potential Complementary
2 Potential Solutions
4 Tech Surveys
NASA Innovation Pavilion
2 Reduction to
NASA Challenge Experience
with Curated Communities
Includes NASA and other U.S. Gov’t Agency Challenges executed under NASA’s CoECI
Crowd-Based Challenges are valuable tools that
should be considered for future engineering
Effective Method to Find Truly Innovative Solutions
Key Method to Find the Right Existing Technologies
(out of the sea of R&D work across a variety of domains)
Efficient Method to Augment Project Teams
with Specialized Skills as Needed
Using Crowds as Engineering Tools
Crowdsourcing Landscape: www.crowdsourcingresults.com, www.infographically.com
Global Internet Use: Based on table from: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
Howe, Jeff (2008-08-18). Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future
of Business, Doubleday Religious Publishing Group.
“Diverse perspectives and tools enable collections of people to find more and better
Scott Page. Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools,
Karim R. Lakhani et al., “The Value of Openness in Scientific Problem Solving.”
experts - http://directoryofexcelexperts.com/
needle in haystack - http://siliconbeachclearly.com/
global network - http://www.emirates.com/
iceberg - http://www.weirdoptics.com/iceberg-illusion/
minions - Illumination Entertainment, Universal Studios
lolcats – http://background-pictures.picphotos.net/
farmville – http://farmville.startpagina.nl
tinder – http://apptiinder.com
thumbsdown – http://commons.wikimedia.org
community – http://www.blogworld.com
minivan – http://vzyalslidingdoor.blogspot.com
milking machine - greenfusestock.photoshelter.com
rocket scientists – LIFE magazine
innovation – http://abovethecrowd.com
problem solving – http://creativerealities.com
equations – http://gallaryhip.com, http://imaginenvision.com
designs – http://www.grabcad.com