It’s Veteran’s Day and in several parts of the world, US troops are fighting. Most didn’t choose to fight in this war, and most don’t really have a way to voice their concerns. With social networking access restricted, are troops removed from the new media frenzy?
When polling friends for a Veteran’s Day themed idea, a friend told me about TroopIdeas.com. TroopIdeas.com is a great attempt by a defense contractor, Gestalt LLC (now owned by accenture), at closing the feedback loop between troops and those who make decisions. The site is closed, but soldiers can submit suggestions through a web form which then gets viewed by the Gestalt team. According to PC World, the submissions get tracked like this:
Gestalt works continuously with the end user from start to finish, breaking the project down into 30-day chunks (dubbed “sprints”), which are developed quickly using SOA tools and interfaces, coupled initially with commercial and open source software and existing information systems. Every 30 days, the end users see what’s been done, critique it, suggest changes, and the process continues.
Check out this slide show from Network World highlighting one of the initial projects based on a soldier request. It appears to mash-up wiki-technology, GPS, photos and chats to keep troops on the ground informed of what’s going on in their area. Maybe soon, patrol units can Twitter-in their updates and alerts (ala the LA Fire Department) to enhance its real-time capabilities.
We’ve discussed previously how Enterprises are adopting web 2.0 technology, so it’s nice to see new media being deployed by defense contractors. It’s also nice to know our troops have some way to influence change that moves faster than traditional Pentagon bureaucracy.
I want to thank my Grandfather and my Uncle for their service to this country.