Archive for February 3rd, 2011


PROJECT CROWDSOURCING, phase 1 ends this month

Mechanical Engineering Magazine’s Project Crowdsourcing is nearing the end of Phase I. If we haven’t heard from you yet, please send us your input by the end of February so you can have a say on the editorial content of the December issue of the magazine. Leave your input here, or send us an e-mail at MEMAG@ASME.ORG.

This is how Project Crowdsourcing works:

Phase I. Until the end of February we are conducting an online discussion to collect your ideas for articles and themes based on ASME’s three strategic initiatives–energy, engineering workforce development, global impact and outreach. At the end of February we will unveil a list of potential articles from the feedback you’ve given us.

Phase II. In March and April you will have the opportunity to vote on these article ideas and determine which six you want us to publish.

Phase III. From May through November we will recruit authors for the articles and work with them to prepare the articles for publication.

Phase IV. In late November, the December 2011, crowdsourced issue of Mechanical Engineering magazine will be mailed to subscribers.

You can provide your comments via four methods:

[1] Here on (leave your comments below)

[2] Visit the Mechanical Engineering magazine Facebook page at (please use caps)

[3] E-mail us at

[4] Post a comment on and use the hashtag #MEcrowdsource

Crowdsourcing reminds us that the ability to influence change rests within us. We look forward to your input and to what we hope will be an important dialogue.

MORE INFORMATION ON CROWDSOURCING AND OUR INITIATIVE (adapted from the December 2010 magazine’s Editorial):

Hours following the earthquake in Haiti last year, streams of text messages flew throughout the ravaged island nation with cries for help. Reports of trapped people, fires, polluted water sources, and requests for food, water, and medical supplies were transmitted in real time. Web sites were set up to help first responders react to the needs on the ground.

Two years earlier, during a post-election crisis in Kenya, a Web site, Ushahidi—meaning “testimony” in Swahili—was developed to map reports of violence. Since then the site has grown into a platform collecting and visualizing information and bringing awareness to crisis situations throughout the world, including Haiti.

These are examples of crowdsourcing, which uses the power of unconnected people with similar interests and empowers community voice toward a specific goal. In the case of Ushahidi, the Web site utilized human resources on the ground to inform authorities and the world of violence in Kenya. In Haiti, eyewitnesses strengthened relief efforts by acting as on-the-ground reporters for authorities and agencies deploying help to the earthquake’s victims.

Driving the process of crowdsourcing is social media. Twitter and Facebook, along with cell phones, are its tools. The messages are curated to deploy necessary resources and a move to action ensues.

We have embarked on a unique initiative called Project Crowdsourcing. The end result will be that our readers will determine the content of the December 2011 issue of Mechanical Engineering magazine.

We don’t presume that our crowdsourcing experiment has the depth of social impact that the projects in Haiti and Kenya have had. Our motivation is to build on the engineering esprit de corps. We are empowering our community of readers to tell us what’s important.

The only parameter to this project is that the ideas for articles be focused on at least one of ASME’s three strategic initiatives. That is, they should be related to energy, engineering workforce development, or global impact and outreach.

The Editor

John G. Falcioni is Editor-in-Chief of Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

February 2011

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