Public-sector consultancy Accenture Federal Services (AFS) recently won a $175 million multi-award, indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery contract to deliver crowd-based solution delivery initiatives for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The award comes as part of NASA’s efforts to tap into outside-the-box thinking about human space exploration challenges, originally launched in 2015 with a series of 10 Open Innovation Service (OIS) contracts. The highly successful effort has grown into a second iteration, OIS2, focused on incorporating additional methodologies and engaging new partners to scale up its crowdsourcing capabilities. AFS was awarded a three year contract for its crowdsourcing support services.
“Federal agencies often have a backlog of challenges that can be best addressed by tapping into the expertise of a network of best-fit industry leaders,” said Rod Adkins, Accenture Federal Services Lead Technical Advisor to NASA, in a press release. “We are thrilled to help NASA leverage innovative methodologies, including fit-for-purpose crowd-based challenges and competitions, to deliver its mission-critical products and services.”
Accenture has a history of working to support NASA in its mission to drive scientific research and development beyond Earth, having recently assisted in the development and deployment of a modern unified application for COVID contact tracing, enabling thousands of NASA employees and contractors to safely return to the office. The firm also serves as a prime contractor for the Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA crowdsourcing efforts have leveraged a number of creative means to solve problems, including challenges and prize competitions, freelance and micro-task projects, and other crowd-based methodologies that open up problems to new perspectives and thinking from outside the agency. Hundreds of challenges have been launched thanks to the capabilities provided by the NOIS contracts, and this latest expansion looks to scale those efforts even further. The NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) not only seeks out novel ideas or solutions to speed research and development efforts, it provides guidance to other federal agencies on open innovation initiatives.
NASA’s ongoing efforts to bring fresh ideas and approaches to solve tough, mission-critical problems are enabling itself and other federal agencies to benefit from the expertise and outside perspective of the private sector, leveraging the global nature of the internet to draw on diverse talents all over the world.