This post was written by two Client Service's team members who worked on the City of Boston's SpeedBump Challenge: Daniel Kuster, Ph.D. and Michael Albarelli, Ph.D.
We recently posted a Challenge for the City of Boston, to solve the problem of locating potholes throughout the city (https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9932752). We believe the StreetBump Challenge prototypes a very powerful way for a city to approach problem solving, by projecting the municipal problem to a global audience of citizen Solvers. Such an approach will become increasingly attractive as data become easier/cheaper to collect and share. As part of the InnoCentive team who worked with the City of Boston to formulate the StreetBump Challenge, we are happy to share our perspective on this type of analytical Challenge at InnoCentive in particular, and some observations about how to get practical value from data-based endeavors in an open innovation marketplace.
Potholes are everywhere, but Boston’s are particularly difficult. The many freeze-thaw cycles provided by Boston weather, heavy traffic, and a diverse network of street features combine to make street damage a pernicious problem. In the StreetBump Challenge, the City of Boston provides Solvers with data (acceleration, GPS position, etc) from an Android smartphone app and asks them to predict where street damage was located.