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NASA Announces Open Innovation Services 2 Contract Selections, Expands Crowdsourcing Toolkit

Innovation has driven NASA’s past, present, and future missions. The agency is continuing to seek new and improved ways of solving problems and finding the best solutions with a series of 19 new NASA Open Innovation Services 2 (NOIS2) contracts. These contracts will allow NASA and other government agencies to host crowdsourcing activities and reach millions of innovators.

Names of the NOIS2 awardees circled around the NTL logo

In 2015, the original NOIS contract equipped NASA and other federal government agencies with a toolkit for crowdsourcing and open innovation. The 10 contractors provided crowd-based solutions using commercial approaches to help solve problems and meet project goals. The NOIS2 contracts provide an expanded set of crowdsourcing tools, including challenges and prize competitions, freelance and micro-task projects, and other crowd-based methodologies.  Of the 19 companies awarded, 13 are new to the NASA crowdsourcing toolkit. The total value across all the contracts is $24,900,000 over five years.

“Collaboration is key to achieving NASA’s goals,” said Walt Engelund, deputy associate administrator for programs in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “We enlist the public’s help to tackle some of our most pressing challenges and those of other federal agencies. With the implementation of the NOIS2 contracts, we can now tap into the diverse expertise of more people around the world to drive our mission forward and to, perhaps, participate in our next big leap.”

The awardees are:

  • Agorize Innovation Inc., Montreal, QC, Canada (new)
  • Appirio Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Business Talent Group LLC, Los Angeles, California (new)
  • Carahsoft Technology Corporation, Reston, Virginia (new)
  • The Common Pool, LLC, Santa Monica, California
  • CrowdPlat, Inc., Milpitas, California (new)
  • Driven Data Inc., Denver, Colorado (new)
  • Ensemble Government Services, LLC, Hyattsville, Maryland (new)
  • Freelance Labs Inc., San Jose, California (new)
  • Freelancer International Pty Limited, Sydney, Australia
  • Guidehouse LLP, McLean, Virginia (new)
  • HeroX PBC, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Luminary Labs LLC, New York, New York
  • Maven Research, Inc., San Mateo, California (new)
  • NSTI LLC, Austin, Texas (new)
  • SciArt Exchange, Houston, Texas (new)
  • Sensis Inc., Los Angeles, California (new)
  • Tech7 Consulting LLC, Monument, Colorado (new)
  • Vanguard Solutions LLC, Boston, Massachusetts (new)

The NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) will continue to foster the agency’s use of crowdsourcing and open innovation through NOIS2. Since 2011, NASA’s researchers, scientists, and engineers have launched numerous prize competitions through the NTL, often seeking novel ideas or solutions to accelerate research and development efforts, improve algorithm performance, and seek new ideas and approaches in support of the NASA mission. The NTL also provides guidance to other federal agencies on open innovation initiatives, from problem definition to incentive design and idea evaluation.

“We have launched hundreds of challenges through the capabilities provided by the NOIS contracts,” Engelund said. “These competitions have resulted in numerous solutions and cost-savings compared to traditional procurement methods. We are excited about the opportunities to expand how NASA uses crowdsourcing beyond public competitions with mircopurchasing and microtasking. These opportunities will offer even more ways for the public to engage in the extraordinary work of NASA.”

The NTL is based at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and is part of the Prizes and Challenges program within STMD. The program supports the use of public competitions and crowdsourcing as tools to advance NASA research and development and other mission needs.

Learn more about opportunities to participate in your space program via NASA prizes and challenges: