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GE’s ‘Lightbulb Moment’: Using Crowdsourcing to Help Discover New Sensor Applications

By cloudspokes In Community Stories, Crowdsourcing Success

Posted February 8th, 2016

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We know. Using a light bulb image, analogy, or anything otherwise when it comes to describing innovation has been done… a lot. But in this most recent crowdsourcing ideation challenge from GE taking place on Topcoder, GE is calling the world to innovate within the physical realm of lighting itself.

From the challenge specification on Topcoder:

Can we change the way we see the world through Intelligent Lighting?

We are at the dawn of a new kind of intelligence, one that will transform the way we live, work and interact.

What if your street light could point you to the closest parking spot? What if it could find your lost dog? What if the ceiling fixture in your favorite store gave you coupons or directed you to the shortest check-out line? We know that is only the beginning!

GE’s team at Current is pulsing the big brains of the world (including yours!) for bright ideas around the type of apps and sensors that it should build into Current’s Intelligent LED fixtures.

Have a great application idea?

Log in to Topcoder, read all the useful information – such as some example use cases for Intelligent Lighting – register for the challenge, and compete! There is a top prize of $2,000 and 10 prizes in total for you to win.

Want to better understand what makes up a Topcoder ideation challenge?

Ideation can mean different things to different people. At Topcoder, we focus on technology, so most often our ideation challenges ask our Topcoder community for application or technology solution ideas that have a keen focus on how the user will interact with the technology and, often, what technology is being employed, and why.

Having your innovation funnel wide open at the onset of a journey like this is smart. You want to be inspired. You want raw ideas, from different perspectives that you may not have thought of. It’s one of the great reasons to use crowdsourcing.

In addition, running ideation challenges through a certain ‘design & technology lens’ helps take bold ideas and begin to cement them in the realities of implementation. What will the sketched user journey be through the application? What API is being called to and for what purposes? Information like this, with a design or technical bend applied, can help you better assess the raw ideas. And when you choose your winning submissions, you’re that much closer to making that great idea, well… light up.

For an outstanding example of taking crowdsourced ideas further down the production life-cycle, check out this post discussing how GE used crowdsourcing to source drone + wearable mash-up ideas and followed it up quickly with a mobile concepts design challenge to fully visualize their favorite idea.

Interested in using crowdsourcing? Let us know.

Good luck and thank you to both GE and our Topcoder community members participating in this ambitious challenge.