Can Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing Prevent Atrocity?
Atrocity. What images and thoughts come to your mind? However you envision it in your head, it is safe to say we all feel pangs of sadness as we picture what that word means to us and what it means to those who find themselves suffering through an experience in life that no person should endure. But what if along with the automatic sadness there was also hope and real belief that the people suffering would see better days and that future atrocities could be acutely lessened or potentially prevented? The wondrous part of innovating in an era of Open Innovation & Crowdsourcing is that you can try and attempt to solve these big challenges like never before in the history of humanity. When you gather passionate and skilled minds around hyper-specific challenges – and even pieces and elements of the challenges that will bolster the final cumulative solution – you can unleash their individual capabilities, allow them to collaboratively create, and you can help shepherd in brand new solutions that matter. If all of this sounds a bit “fluffy” to you, please revisit the first sentence of this post. Whatever it is that you are picturing in your mind, what if it could be prevented? What if you could help?
From the official TopCoder press release:
In October 2012, USAID partnered with Humanity United to issue a Tech Challenge for atrocity Prevention in support of President Barack Obama’s strategy for preventing mass atrocities and genocide. The competition series is administered through the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (COECI). The CoECI was launched to enable acceleration of US Government implementation of new models of problem solving using collaborative innovation methodologies, such as crowd sourcing and open innovation, to meet agency requirements. Led by NASA, the CoECI serves as a convening body which harnesses and redistributes the collective experience of all participating federal agencies regarding best practices in collaborative and distributed innovation.
Please enjoy this 1-minute video introducing the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention
The first phases of the Tech Challenge were recently completed bringing to light innovations that will help citizens properly document relevant evidence which will enable authorities to prosecute perpetrators much more effectively, hopefully deterring future violent acts, and a separate contest brought about solutions to identify third-party enablers of atrocities – non-state actors who provide (intentionally or otherwise) logistical support (financing, arming, etc.) to a group committing or poised to commit an act of atrocity. Now, the “challenge” is rolling into a brand new phase and the TopCoder community is poised to create algorithmic solutions that we believe can make a real difference in many people’s lives.
See the winning submissions from the first two contests:
Enablers – View Here
Capture & Document – View Here
The Role of Predictive Analytics in Atrocity Prevention
As mentioned above, TopCoder is proudly involved in this multi-phase “tech challenge”. Because of our community of passionate algorithmists and data scientists, we felt we were primed to help the overall effort and to do so in very hyper-specific ways.
From the official TopCoder press release:
TopCoder is hosting a series of competitions including data discovery, data validation, algorithm development and algorithm dashboard assembly as part of the Model Challenge, which will seek predictive analytic models that can help identify community-level risk factors that make communities more or less likely to experience acts of violence. The first phase of this computational model build is the data discovery challenge, where competitors need to find and describe a freely available and clearly documented data set measuring any social, economic, or physical value which has the potential to contain statistical indicators for the occurrence of an atrocity.
If you are interested in registering for this aspect of The Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention please do so here - http://www.topcoder.com/techchallenge/ and we ask you to share these important challenges socially using the hashtag #GenPrevTech on Twitter.
Good luck to all the competitors and contributors taking place in this ambitious and worthy challenge.
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