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Website Launched For Oil Spill Suggestions
June 2, 2010

An Oregon technology company launched a website recently to capture suggestions of the world’s best and brightest on innovative solutions for stopping BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has reportedly received 10,000 phone calls and 60,000 emails offering solutions since last month’s disaster. 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. Crowdsourcing refers to the concept that the wisdom of crowds, if harnessed, can usually provide the best answer (think the “Audience” lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”).

The site has an innovative strategy itself. Idea contributors, whether an innovative farmer in Omaha, an engineering visionary in Russia, or perhaps a high school physics teacher in Brazil, can post their ideas and all site visitors can vote for their favorite idea. The most innovative ideas then quickly rise to the top of the list because they have the most votes. Dan Afrasiabi, president of Portland’s ARM Insight hopes BP experts will monitor the website for the best and most innovative ideas.

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