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January 15, 2021 31 min

Can we Crowdsource Government?

NASA’s Deputy Director for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI), Steve Rader, joined me for an episode of the Reboot Chronicles, to discuss how our government went from “not-invented-here” to crowdsourcing and the art of Dancing with Startups.

Founded in 2011 by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, NASA's CoECI goal was to drive crowdsourcing programs to further research and development efforts, assist other federal agencies in solving mission-critical projects, and bringing a new level of co-creation and open-innovation culture to NASA.

This decade’s overused buzzword, co-creation, was introduced into NASA's culture a decade ago by Dr. Jeff R. Davis, NASA's prior Director, Human Health and Performance. During a time when NASA was experiencing heavy budget cuts with increasing R&D needs, Jeff found he could expand his resources in various industries, through open-innovation challenges. He took this discovery, and often without permission, ran pilot projects with entrepreneurs and startups to prop-up research projects—and the rest is history.

"If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions." - Albert Einstein

NASA was able to elevate the center to the agency level, tasked to teaching other government agencies to understand how to re-frame problems and reboot their closed mindsets. Similar to what I teach students, executives and board members at Kellogg School of Management, through my Dancing with Startups Program, NASA has guided the US Space Program and over 30 other agencies, on how to discover better solutions by driving more open-innovation, co-creation and crowdsourcing. Listen in here for some good stories here or tune in wherever you get your podcasts.

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