BP Seeks YOUR Ideas – Is the oil giant going open source?

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May 14, 2010

bp-uscg-transocean-logos oil spill

gCaptain asked forum members to submit ideas when developing the ship tracking iPhone Application gTrax. The USCG has used social media for the last few years to communicate and solicit ideas from the public. And the Department Of Homeland Security now has dozens of links to departments that blog, twitter and otherwise interact with the online community. Is the oil giant BP the next to go open source?

In August of last year gCaptain interviewed Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen. When asked about the future of social media in his organization he replied:

The ultimate goal as I see it is mission execution which is the focus of everything we do here. Social media, being able to align people and create better transparency, allows us to focus the organization to be more effective. The more we can make information transparent, not only to our own people but the American public, the better everyone will understand what the organization is trying to do and assist in moving all of us in the same direction.

With Admiral Allen now incident commander in charge of the Gulf Oil Spill response, it is no surprise that the official website created to track the oil spill contains links to the social media sites flickr, youtube, facebook and twitter. Each of these sites containing information and multi-media detailing all operations currently underway in the gulf.

Just today BP released this image via the photo sharing website flickr showing, in graphic detail (click the image for the hi-resolution version) the next plan to shut in the oil well:

BP Graphic on bop shut-in via rov

As interesting as the graphic and myriad of information contained on the official website is, it’s only of limited use if the information only flows in one direction (i.e. from them to you).

Today BP announced via twitter that it’s accepting ideas to stop the flow of oil. You simply visit THIS LINK, fill out the form and your idea to stop the well flow is submitted to BP directly. Suddenly, not only you, but mechanical, fluids and subsea engineers world-wide can offer real solutions to this problem.

So what’s the next step BP needs to take in order to truly excite the powerful minds of the web generation? Take an note from the X-Prize and offer a $10 million reward for the idea that solves the problem. With the company currently burning $33 million per day on the response, this is a fraction of the total cost BP is spending on this incident.

UPDATE: We started a forum post to illicit ideas. So if you have one, an idea that is, fill out BP’s form then CLICK HERE to share it with our forum members.

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