Will 'Crowdsourcing' Come To BP's Rescue?

My husband, Nate, and I are fans of the now-cancelled TV show "Flash Forward." The premise of the show was that on Oct. 6, 2009, the entire world blacked out for two minutes and 17 seconds. During this blackout, people saw their futures – more specifically, they saw what they were doing on April 29, 2010.

To harness all of the "futures" people saw, the FBI put together a website called the Mosaic. The goal was to help people make sense of what their visions meant. For the dramatic spin, many folks saw death, destruction, espionage, terrorism and all around evil.

Moving from fiction to reality, an Oregon technology company launched its own "Mosaic" website to capture suggestions on innovative solutions for stopping BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the company, the website is intended as a vehicle to organize these ideas, through the use of "crowdsourcing," to encourage new thinking and promote collaboration among interested people around the world. 

While I hate when companies coin new words and phrases to hype their ideas, I do think it's an interesting concept.

"We believe the answer to capping the oil spill may emerge through the collaborative efforts of disparate individuals worldwide, from every-day tinkerers to professional scientists in the farthest corners of the world," says Dan Afrasiabi, president of Portland, Ore.-based ARM Insight.  "We believe that complex problems require revolutionary solutions. Few problems require the urgent cooperation of global brain-power in the way the oil spill crisis does. Our hope is to quickly uncover the solution to this problem and at the same time produce a wealth of ideas to prevent or minimize the effect of future accidents which are likely to occur as the global hunt for deep water sources of energy continues."

It will be interesting to see if any of the solutions contained on this site will lead to the winning solution. For the sake of the environment and BP, let's hope it's sooner rather than later.

Do you have a suggestion? Visit the site at http://www.whatshouldBPdo.com. Make sure you let me know that you've posted a solution so I can vote for it -- I always want to support the CP community! In the meantime, I hope the Norwegian researchers that Seán Ottewell mentions in his column, Peat Moss May Save the Seas, find the time to post their solution.

Traci Purdum
Senior Digital Editor