DARPA’s attempts to crowd source wicked defense problems are admirable but clumsy. What are the odds that groups of poorly funded enthusiasts working more or less independently of one another will be able to wholly solve some of the most pressing technical challenges facing the military? It’s more likely that such a model will produce flashes of insight that can contribute to a comprehensive solution. The question that DARPA should be focused on is – how do you recognize and integrate these independently formed insights into a fully formed technology?
If all goes according to plan, the U.S. military will soon have its own analog of Reddit, the popular social site where user votes push the best content and ideas to the top for all to see.
This is a great idea – in theory. The problem is that the envisioned site, dubbed Eureka, is open only to military and civilian employees of the DoD. The best ideas often come from the healthy co-mingling of perspectives that can only emerge from an open ecosystem. If everyone in the Eureka community is two or three degrees removed, there’s little chance that truly disruptive ideas will be spawned.
In all seriousness, crowd sourcing can (and should) be an important tool in finding solutions to global conflicts… One of the best ways we can think of to break the defense-industrial cycle that fuels war is to end the monopoly that big business has on sourcing technologies for the military. And what better way to accomplish this than re-imagining the defense industry through social media?
Harnessing the power of social media for positive change in any field of endeavor means creating ecosystems that connect resources (people, organizations, events, etc.) with opportunities. Cause.it is doing this for community engagement. Somebody should be doing it for defense…
Social media will play an increasingly important role in terms of how the military does business. But it’s more than just a marketing tool. Social media, done correctly, is an important lever for involving the broader public in the defense conversation.
Social media represents an unprecedented opportunity for the DoD and industry to engage the broader public in the defense conversation. We think better security is a collective concern.