UberPool and Lyft Line (in graph), available in a handful of cities, match two sets of riders heading in the same direction and charge them a reduced fare. This kind of carpooling, hardly a new idea, may play a major role in the outcome of the San Francisco companies’ furious competition against each other and the $11 billion traditional U.S. taxi and limo industry. “I do think this is the future of ride-sharing—the actual sharing of rides,” says Harry Campbell, an Uber and Lyft driver and author of The Rideshare Guy, an industry blog. “They can lower the price and make the business accessible to people who may not have taken a ride before.”
This is such a far cry from the traditional systems integrator, have teams of consultants fly week after week to a customer site.
From ZDNet, the TopCoder (now part of Appirio) project from MESH01 with a stack that included AngularJS, Node and MongoDB on top of the Heroku cloud application platform.
“To organize the MESH01 project, a TopCoder architect broke it down into more than 100 different contests, to surface the best design approaches. The final version includes contributions from more than 30 TopCoder members; the code was combined by the TopCoder architects.”
NY Times interview with Kevin Kelly, author of modern version of the Whole Earth Catalog
“These are all recommendations of tools, in the broadest sense, of things that are helpful and practical for doing things yourself, for learning things yourself or as a small group. They are self-empowerment tools. While there are more than a thousand tools in the book, I’m not suggesting that you buy any of them. I think you should just know about them. This is a book of ideas. It’s a book of possibilities.”
“This is all user-generated content from the cool tools website that have been running for 10 years. These are all positive recommendations, we only deal with good stuff, we don’t waste our time with things that don’t work.”
“You can take a picture with your mobile phone, where you hover over the (QR) code, and then it takes you right to an Amazon page to order the tool. It’s as close as we could get in print to the web where you can click and order something. It remains to be seen if anyone actually uses it.”
The premise of Homejoy is fairly simple. Go to the website or download the app, create an account, and pick a time you want your house cleaned. The rate is $20 per hour plus a $5 supply fee. A key selling point is that the housecleaners themselves are insured and vetted by Homejoy. Like Uber’s drivers, however, they’re not technically employed by the company. Instead, they work as freelancers who set their own hours and receive assignments based on availability.
For investors, Homejoy’s appeal would seem to rest on its potential to create efficiency through transparency. (Google Ventures and Levchin didn’t immediately return requests for comment.) Homejoy, Cheung says, provides a highly visible way for the vast workforce of independent cleaners to make themselves known and demonstrate their competence. “We’re essentially organizing all the independent cleaners onto our platform,” Cheung says.
The rise in “open innovation” contests has helped companies broaden their research and development while reducing their cost and risk of failure. Such contests easily reach large numbers of external problem solvers with a variety of backgrounds, potentially leading to faster, cheaper and better solutions.
The contests also have piqued researcher Pei-yu Chen’s interest in how to make them work more effectively. Chen, associate professor of information systems at the W. P. Carey School of Business, has co-authored three papers looking at how innovation seekers can better design contests, evaluate entries and encourage high-quality solutions. Her work also gives problem solvers clues for improving their chances of winning.
Among her findings:
Above-average prize amounts attract more contestants for idea-based projects. But they have little or no effect on the number of contestants in expertise-based projects, where contestants’ time is scarce.
For idea-based projects, shorter descriptions attract more contestants. The brevity seems to allow for more creativity, Chen says.
For expertise-based projects, longer descriptions attract more contestants. The details give contestants a better sense of what the seeker wants.
A contest of longer duration attracts more contestants, but the number of new entrants declines as the contest continues. Seekers should weigh the benefit of gaining entrants with the cost of maintaining the contest.
I have written about previous GE versions of the sleigh. This year “GE scientists are turning to the crowd and the power of 3D printing to design a whole new sleigh for Santa that will ensure he makes all of his deliveries this holiday season.”
Some of the entries already submitted on GrabCAD’s site
In the meantime, as more of holiday gift requests and fulfillments flow through ecommerce sites BusinessWeek describes Santa's other sleigh
"At mighty Amazon, the omniscient computer program that practically runs the company’s supply chain is known internally as the Mechanical Sensei. The program tracks all the items and orders coursing through Amazon’s systems. It makes millions of small decisions, such as how much of a particular product Amazon should buy, and—given the geographic dynamic of demand for that particular —where in its massive network of fulfillment centers to store it.'
On a day like today with so much food everywhere, good to see this
"The 28-year-old former Fulbright scholar, cooking instructor and Community Coordinator for Bi-Rite is on a mission this morning: to give away 115 pounds of organic gold apricots and black seedless grapes to a local hunger-relief charity. Fifteen minutes later, a tweet alerts Simley that a volunteer from Food Runners is on his way to claim the fresh fruits which will be distributed within 24 hours to low-income residents in San Francisco.
It's a stunningly effective demonstration of how the battle against food waste has shifted online, where Facebook, Twitter and startups (like CropMobster) are helping to nimbly crowdsource surplus food that would otherwise end up composted or worse – end up rotting in a landfill."
Through TechWorks' Boston Innovation Centre in the USA, Jurgens dreams of bringing the kinds of robots that operate in space to Earth. These would to work in off-shore applications, underground and in exploration roles.
Another area Shell is deploying the outside-in approach of open innovation is with seismic surveys – the kind looking for natural gas. Each of these surveys produce vast amounts of data – up to ten terabytes – that needs to be crunched. But it's also useful to visualise it. "We're talking with companies in the gaming industry and also specialists in Hollywood," says Jurgens.
Robots searching for gas, game designers visualising seismic data, and an energy giant supporting startups? Sounds like Shell's open innovation platform is on to something.
These bright, criss-crossing lines represent 58,000 commercial flight routes, seen from above. "Not many people will have been in space and looked down at these routes," says Michael Markieta, a geographic information services consultant at Arup, in Toronto, Canada.
The international airports flying to the most destinations (more than 200) are Frankfurt, Atlanta, Paris and Amsterdam. All flight data comes from openflights.org -- a crowdsourced database -- and flights are represented in blue, with colour intensity proportional to flight length. "Cross-continental flights that wrap around the globe are dark blue," Markieta explains. When there are many overlapping trips along the same route, he has increased light exposure, so they are collectively brighter. Markieta drew out each flight path by plotting the latitudes and longitudes of every airport and then using an algorithm called Great Circle, which connects the shortest distance between two points on the Earth's surface.