Maybe, like me, you were reading the latest issue of Wired, specifically the story headlined "The Rise of Crowdsourcing." Contained in that piece is a fascinating section about a company called InnoCentive, which was launched in 2001 by pharmaceutical maker Eli Lilly "as a way to connect with brainpower outside the company--people who could help develop drugs and speed them to market," as Jeff Howe writes. After a few fits and starts, InnoCentive finally got on track two years ago, when the likes of DuPont, Boeing and Procter & Gamble started posting their hard-to-solve problems on the site and offering cash reward to anyone on the Web who might be able to, ya know, solve 'em. Think of it as a cash advance on a job interview, or maybe a cheap-ass think tank for corporations clearly in need of smarter people.
Anyway, maybe, like me, you came across the following paragraph and had some questions--chiefly, who dat? To wit:
"The solvers are not who you might expect. Many are hobbyists working from their proverbial garage, like the University of Dallas undergrad who came up with a chemical to use in art restoration, or the Cary, North Carolina, patent lawyer who devised a novel way to mix large batches of chemical compounds."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
But never does the piece mention the name of the guy from the University of Dallas. Well, after a little searching, I found his name: Drew Buschhorn, who, according to a 2004 piece in Mass High Tech, which is published by The Journal of New England Technology, was a senior studying chemistry at UD when he won his $10,000 prize. For what? Well, for doing this: "for finding a new compound for preserving materials as the Environmental Protection Agency phases out the cyclododecane compound the company was using." Dude, I did that for free years ago. Apparently, Buschhorn didn't spend too much time on it, either: MHT says he spent a total of six hours doing the research and writing the paper. He's now an instructor in the chemistry department at the University of Indiana-Bloomington; I totally turned down that job. --Robert Wilonsky