The CoECI Story
After a highly successful pilot program to determine if the use of crowdsourcing held potential to positively affect NASA’s ability to accelerate and augment research and development efforts, the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) was established by NASA in November of 2011 at the request of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). As NASA continued to mature the use of crowdsourcing as a new tool in its toolkit, OSTP encouraged NASA to assist other federal agencies in the use of crowdsourced challenges to solve tough, mission-critical problems. CoECI continues to guide NASA and other Agency teams on all aspects of implementing challenge-based initiatives, from problem definition, to incentive design, to post-submission evaluation of solutions. This end-to-end service has allowed and continues to allow other agencies to rapidly experiment with these new methods before standing up their own capabilities. Since its inception, research into the use of crowdsourcing has been at the heart of NASA’s effort, and that research has provided data-driven analysis to validate the value of the tool as well as enabling strategies to support more effective operational implementation.
How We Solve
NASA Tournament Lab: All CoECI challenges are managed under the umbrella of the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) which recently expanded its capabilities beyond software and algorithm development. The NTL now offers a variety of open innovation platforms that engage the crowdsourcing community in challenges to create the most innovative, efficient and optimal solutions for specific, real-world challenges being faced by NASA.
NASA Spark: NASA Spark is an internal, agency-wide platform that provides NASA employees an unconventional and inventive way to share knowledge and advance projects. NASA Spark fosters collaboration across the entire NASA community through interactive discussion and problem-solving. If someone within the agency has a problem and needs to garner a broader pool of expertise, they can create a campaign calling for ideas, proposals, projects, volunteers, etc. Anyone in the NASA Spark community can participate. As an added bonus, some of the best solutions may be offered prizes as chosen by the campaign owner. Collaboration is fundamental to NASA’s success and finding solutions to some of our biggest challenges; NASA Spark makes that just a little easier.
What We Do
CoECI is part of NASA’s Prizes, Challenges, and Crowdsourcing program. CoECI collaborates with innovators across NASA and the Federal Government to generate ideas and solve important problems by working with global communities via the NTL. This challenge-based approach readily increases NASA’s creative capacity and has proven to be an effective method to find truly innovative solutions. CoECI continues to conduct research and data analytics, both internally and through its relationship with Harvard University, to measure the impact of open innovation practices and enhance the effectiveness of the use of those practices operationally. CoECI also works with organizations within NASA and across the Federal sector to:
- Harness the power of the crowd for idea generation, problem-solving or technology scouting
- Facilitate the planning and execution of challenges, including scope development, cost, schedule management, marketing, and awards
- Educate and share best practices
- Measure performance impacts