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Kickstarting the Kickstarter

The CAS Kickstarter Task Force has been busy implementing a new model for research and development ideas. The brainchild of CAS Vice President-Research & Development Alice Underwood, the new model  features “crowdsourcing” and “crowdvoting” as its central concepts.

The modern terminology of crowdsourcing dates back to 2006 when the editors of Wired first coined the term to mean “outsourcing to the crowd.” In 2008, the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, defined “crowdsourcing” as an “online, distributed problem-solving and production model.”

But the concept of crowdsourcing dates all the way back to the mid-19th century when the Oxford English Dictionary made an open call for volunteers to contribute to a dictionary of the English language with example quotations.

Web-based open innovation platforms have been very successful in recent years for modern research efforts. In 2006, IBM hosted an “Innovation Jam” at which 140,000 international participants yielded roughly 46,000 ideas. As another example, the company InnoCentive is a crowdsourcing platform for corporate research and development. They boast a success rate of 50% in providing successful solutions to previously unsolved scientific and technical problems.

Crowdsourcing is now available to any CAS Online Community members. CAS members can now choose to contribute to research ideas and crowdvoting for funding research projects is also available.

Our own modest task force has worked with the CAS Online Community to implement the new website for gathering research ideas. The website includes the capability of voting on research projects, and submitting ideas and requests for research. Located in the IdeaShare section of the CAS Online Community, voting includes a selection of priorities for each of the different ideas that are added, and also accepts comments from people to facilitate discussion about the suggested ideas.

Respondents can “Subscribe” to an idea if they are interested in participating in the idea or if the idea becomes a project. The CAS will be able to track the progress of the idea and to contact respondents to sign them up for a working group. Additionally, the website now includes a Twitter feed to display anything that includes #CASideashare.

The CAS community is ready to kickstart! What we ask of you, dear reader, is to click on the link

Rasa Varanka McKean, ACAS, MAAA, is manager of actuarial services for the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board.