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SOURCE Veteran Corps of America
Program Uses Online Social Media Tools to Leverage Collective Problem Solving
O'FALLON, Ill., Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Veteran Corps of America (Veteran Corps), headquartered in O'Fallon, IL, is proud to announce that it has been awarded a contract to provide the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) an innovative approach in solving complex soldier problems in real time called CoCreation.
The heart of the project is www.ArmyCocreate.com, an online platform to connect Soldiers, civilians, enthusiasts and scientists in the real-time development of Army solutions. Community members will collaborate to identify Soldier problems, suggest solutions, tackle an in-depth challenge and build prototypes. The Army CoCreate platform and its community will provide two workshops called "Make-a-Thons," where Soldiers from the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate will bring virtual blueprints to life by manufacturing 3D prototypes using REF Expeditionary Lab equipment.
Soldier Focused. In August 2013, the REF partnered with Team Veteran Corps (which includes co-creation innovators Local Motors, Exponent, and Camber Inc.) to deliver a groundbreaking, open-source platform for Soldier-focused innovation. According to Veteran Corps President Bill Wheeler, "Veteran Corps is proud to be a part of cutting-edge technology that will help Soldiers solve their most urgent challenges; we're leveraging a broad base of expertise to get Soldiers the help they need when they need it." The Army CoCreate proof-of-concept is a natural evolution of the REF mission to rapidly develop solutions and quickly get them to Soldiers on the battlefield.
How it Works. Four distinct components:
1. Identify Problems. (Ideas page). Ideas are the foundation for innovative projects. Participants will identify specific Soldier challenges for the community to address. Community members will vote or comment on their favorite Soldier challenge idea. The more votes an idea receives, the more likely it is to be selected as the main Army CoCreate project.
2. Suggest Solutions. (Design page). Participants will upload sketches, graphics and renderings for a solution design, which may or may not directly relate to a problem on the ideas page. Users can like, comment or follow updates for their favorite designs. Designs can inform the main Army CoCreate project or inspire people who can make the idea a reality.
3. Tackle a Project. (Projects Page). Based on the community's ideas, designs and feedback, REF will select a main Army CoCreate project for in-depth collaboration. The moderators will post detailed Soldier challenge information (e.g., the size, weight, power, operation and endurance guidelines). Community members will select and contribute to the part of the project that interests them the most. From the projects page, participants can start a conversation thread on any topic within the project area.
4. Build Prototypes. (Make-a-Thons). In the final phase, MCoE Fort Benning will host two week-long innovation workshops called Make-a-Thons where the resulting virtual designs from the online community will be prototyped using 3D printing capabilities and the REF expeditionary lab. Make-a-Thons will take place December 9-13, 2013 and January 13-16, 2014. The Army CoCreate effort demonstrates REF's commitment to include Soldiers in the solution development process and capture the ideas of Soldiers with recent combat experience.
"Right now, the Army is filled with resources, the Soldiers returning home from Afghanistan rich with operational experience from that conflict. It is important to maintain institutional knowledge of what we have learned," said Sliwa. "Though the problems addressed by the CoCreate community may not be theater-specific, we want to determine if this technique can assist Soldiers in refining requirements." Membership in the Army CoCreate online community is free and is open to the public. Visit ArmyCoCreate.com to join the community and help drive the next generation of Soldier-focused innovations.
Veteran Corps (http://www.veterancorps.com) is based in O'Fallon, IL, with offices in Fairfax, VA, and Edgewood, MD. As a certified Small Business and Service Disabled, Veteran Owned Small Business, Veteran Corps delivers low-cost, best-value solutions in disaster response equipment and training, IT products and services, logistics and warehousing, and training and simulation. If you'd like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Bill Wheeler, President of Veteran Corps, or John Wheeler, Vice President of Veteran Corps, please contact Greg Moreau at 802.380.9565 or email.
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