Beth Perkins

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How to project a local problem to a global audience

Posted by Beth Perkins on Jun 21, 2011 2:18:17 PM

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 (  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. 

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Topics: Challenges

Seeker Spotlight: University of Melbourne

Posted by Beth Perkins on Jun 15, 2011 3:16:46 PM

We recently announced that the Assessment Research Centre at the University of Melbourne had posted a Reduction to Practice Challenge seeking the development of a software module to assess collaborative problem solving skills in schools. We asked Professor Patrick Griffin from the University of Melbourne to talk to us about this Challenge, Educational GUI for Collaborative Problem Solving. Patrick is the Executive Director of the ATC21S project.

Hello Patrick.  Thanks for talking to us about your Challenge. The Assessment & Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ATC21S) is an international project coordinated by the Assessment Research Centre at the University.  Can you tell us a bit more about this project and what it hopes to accomplish?

In our information-rich world, students will need not just competence in math, science and reading, but in a number of other skills that include new ways of learning with technology, new ways to solve problems, and new ways to communicate using social media. The world of education has not even begun to explore the possibilities of these new 21st-century skills. So the ATC21S project has taken on the task of developing new ways of assessing collaborative problem-solving and learning through digital networks. In doing so, we are attempting to shift the direction of assessment and teaching towards a model that is more suitable to the measurement and development of skills that people will need in the 21st century.

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Topics: Seekers

Exciting Updates for InnoCentive Solvers!

Posted by Beth Perkins on Jun 13, 2011 1:50:04 PM

Today's blog post was contributed by InnoCentive Marketing Manager Tim O'Brien.

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Topics: Solvers, Challenges

What should we call ourselves?

Posted by Beth Perkins on Jun 8, 2011 5:35:13 PM

(The quest for a new name for Deutsche Boerse and the NYSE Euronext)

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Topics: Innovation Insights

Baking Diversity into Your Solutions

Posted by Beth Perkins on May 27, 2011 8:53:22 AM

Innovation Program Manager Kevin Mobbs, shares some insights into the RTP Challenges.

Plug and play solutions to long-standing, or technically demanding, problems are few and far between. Almost all novel technologies require considerable development before they are ready for roll out. This is the reality of product & process development – it is very hard work!

As Thomas Edison said “Opportunities are missed by many because they wear overalls and look like work!” Using a Challenge Driven Innovation approach to source solutions, it is key to focus in on the aspects of the problem most amenable to the community of Solvers your channel addresses. There is a great deal we can do to properly position Challenge statements in order to stimulate Solver engagement and perhaps the most influential factor driving this is the deliverable required from the Solver.

Many Reduction to Practice (RTP) Challenges require Solvers to provide solutions, or materials, that have been validated. While there are many advantages to the Seeker organization of having a ‘menu’ of solutions available to be delivered and tested by their in-house experts, the Solver perspective is somewhat different. Typically, fewer Solvers engage in RTP Challenges than in Theoretical Challenges and so some diversity is lost from the ‘menu’ of potential solutions. Higher awards for RTP Challenges are intended to engage Solvers and compensate their investment of time and materials, but this assumes that most Solvers with the insight and intellectual power to innovate a solution also have access to the resources required to produce e.g. a novel nanostructure, or a high-flow particle filter.

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Topics: Innovation Insights, Seekers

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