Wow! Social has come a long way! Many Universities are now using social to drive innovation! Can you believe that social is the tie that binds football, baseball, the Oscars, and Protein Folding? ! Read more!
1. University of Washington. The University of Washington Department of Computer Sciences was looking for new way to solve a problem that has challenged life sciences researchers for many years: examing and figuring out the right shape and the right function for proteins to try to cure diseases. The problem itself had millions of possibilities and many nuances that created a problem that was simply too difficult to solve with computer algorithms alone. It really needed human ingenuity. Some problems have point solutions that are fairly obvious to people but not so for software.
To tackle the problem however, they needed many people to first understand how to solve the problem and try different permutations, without requiring an extensive scientific background to do so. What the University of Washington team was create a serious social game with simple rules on how to fold different shapes of proteins. Using a mass group of 57,000 players from a variety of educational backgrounds and locations on this game, they were able to solve in 3 weeks a problem that vexed scientists for years. It simply took the social collective intelligence and effort of many individuals to deliver effective solutions in at least one fiftieth the amount of time. The Solutions that resulted from the analysis of the game play provided important insights into development of new retroviral drugs.
2. University of Southern CA. And students at the Annenberg Innovation lab at Souther Cal working with IBM, have turned twitter information into meaningful data with a Social Sentiment Index.