A few weeks ago, we heard some exciting news from the LAANC UI/UX Challenge program stakeholders over at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

We saved them (and taxpayers) $790,000!

By using ten mini prize challenges to crowdsource UI enhancements for FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), we were able to save them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Open innovation programs such as the one we ran with the FAA are becoming increasingly mainstream due to their ability to reduce the costs of innovation, which has been a growing cost for companies across industries. According to a 2017 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, companies and organizations today are having to dedicate 20 times the amount of resources to research and development efforts as companies in the 1930s. The results of this effort, however, have not grown with the costs. In other words, it’s getting harder to come up with new ideas.

Integrating open innovation practices into the research and development process offers up the opportunity to get out of an idea rut while also cutting costs. As outlined in a Forbes article discussing the advantages of open innovation, these programs allow companies and organizations to use the power of startups, independent software developers, and other external parties to crowdsource solutions and ideas rather than starting from ground zero with internal teams. Open innovation-based programs are also enormously cost-effective and enable solutions to be sourced and delivered faster, especially in the public sector. Because participants are only paid if their solution works, funding a project via a hackathon or prize challenge also provides companies and organizations with a financially safer alternative to in-house R&D..

As industry experts in open innovation programs for the federal government, we know that crowdsourcing, hackathons, and other open innovation programs are able to significantly reduce the cost of innovation. Our strong belief in harnessing the power of the crowd was reaffirmed by the results of the FAA Air Traffic Manager (ATM) UI Enhancements Project, and we hope the results of this project will serve as a catalyst for the federal government to increase their open innovation programs moving forward.

Learn more about this project by reading the case study:

Crowdsourcing UI Solutions for an Intuitive FAA App


To read more about the cost-effectiveness of open innovation: