I believe that the application of social business collaboration (SBC) tools and practices will revolutionize enterprise business processes. So I read with great interest the report Pentagon Pushes Crowdsourced Manufacturing in the New York Times on April 5, 2012 which describes a significant initiative to apply SBC to the Product Development process – from idea to manufacturing.
In the piece they quote LTC Nathan Wiedenman, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program manager:
“… The goal, he said, is to “democratize the design process.”
They go on to quote Joseph Salvo, manager of the business integration technologies lab at G.E. Research:
“This is about changing the paradigm so you can rapidly design and manufacture complex systems of all kinds,”
In the graphic that accompanied the report we can see the prominent role played by the “crowdsourcing platform” and collaboration technologies, such as wikis and forums, in their strategy.
It is clear to me that DARPA is embracing Social Product Development as means to achieve their goal “to cut the design-to-production cycle to two to four years”. As a taxpayer and SBC advocate I plan to watch this program closely.