National Science Foundation Grant – Hybrid Challenge Platforms to Promote Innovation

NSF Along with my colleagues at Arizona State University, I have received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Hybrid Challenge Platforms to Promote Innovation

To be practical and sustainable tools for innovation, the coming generation of community-engagement and crowd-sourcing platforms need to improve the user experience of participants, while simultaneously providing a reliable mechanism for synthesizing participants' contributions into usable problem-solving outputs. In the present project, a multi-disciplinary research team will explore how community participation spreads, the effects of feedback on participation, and the changes in community and collaboration structure over time. Empirically, the project lays out three research questions: 1) characteristics of participatory government platforms, 2) behavioral and system challenges over time, and 3) the impact of managerial and design interventions on individual behaviors and network structure.

The specific platform for this research is "10,000 Solutions", a many-to-many system managed by Arizona State University that empowers both individuals and organizations to host and participate in solutions, challenges, and collective actions. The research team will study participation in "10,000 Solutions" across online, physical, and hybrid environments, particularly focusing on participant community building, trajectories of participation, and output usability. A diverse slate of experiments, with the application of the application of agent-based modeling and network analysis, will provide useful insights for theory development on community engagement and participation, as well as generating best-practice guidelines for participatory design, operation, assessment and implementation.

Future advances in economic growth and national security require new technologies for harnessing the wisdom of crowds and the power of public innovation. However, these technologies are still in their infancy, and there is a growing need for robust and flexible platforms that can move beyond exploratory efforts, toward real-world deployment. The project will develop evidence-based policies and practices to improve collaboration while increasing perceptions of accountability, legitimacy and individual satisfaction, the effectiveness of the work outputs and the adoption and use of the products developed by the community and through the platform. Knowing the conditions that increase and sustain collective action will help in devising policies and practices for building platforms to enhance participation in government and non-government organizations.

NSF Award [Link]

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