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Open Innovation Playbook for Risk Homepage

Presentation for the USGS Northeast Flood Science Capability Team (NEFSCT) by Sophia B Liu
April 1, 2020    |    July 1, 2020

Open Innovation for Floods

Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Competitions as Force Multipliers for Flood Science and Management


Crowdsourcing, citizen science, and prize competitions are emerging open innovation techniques that are increasingly being used as force multipliers to enhance flood science and emergency management. Dr. Sophia B Liu will provide an overview of terms, concepts, and typical misconceptions related to these open innovation techniques, provide examples of flood-related open innovation projects and publications, and how your potential USGS open innovation projects related to floods can inform the development of a USGS Open Innovation Strategy and the products being developed. The presentation has 100 slides but mostly contains a lot of screenshots of various resources, projects, and publications. Approximately 30 minutes of videos each around 2-5 minutes long are also shown in the presentation and embedded in the slides. Links to the resources in this presentation are provided below. 

The USGS has a long history of well-established projects using citizen science and other community-based research methods to enhance USGS science, but these projects are typically ad hoc and developed in response to specific science needs. While there is growing interest within USGS to use these methods, there is currently no bureau-wide guidance, resources, or policy for how to use open innovation methods at USGS. Also, there are often concerns and misconceptions about data quality and validity of open innovation efforts that need to be addressed and dispelled. A comprehensive strategy is needed to provide uniform guidance and direction to USGS scientists, managers, and leadership on how to use open innovation methods most effectively and evaluate their effectiveness while ensuring compliance with Bureau and federal policy. A USGS Open Innovation Strategy is currently being developed that will include USGS-specific Guidance, Catalog, Toolkit, and Policy. These products will be collaboratively developed with input from USGS representatives across all mission areas, regions, and science support offices to ensure this strategy is relevant, reputable, and relatable to USGS programs and priorities. The purpose of this talk is to consider floods as a case study that can inform and be integrated into this strategy and the development of an Open Innovation Playbook for Risk. To participate and provide feedback on this strategy and playbook, join the Open Innovation Listserv and contribute your input at the USGS Open Innovation Strategy Teams Site.

Dr. Sophia B Liu is an Innovation Specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Science and Decisions Center in Reston, VA as well as the USGS Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Coordinator and Co-Chair of the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community. She began working at USGS in 2011 as a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow working on the Tweet Earthquake Dispatch project at the National Earthquake Information Center and the iCoast - Did the Coast Change? Project at the St. Petersburg Coastal Marine Science Center. Starting in 2017, she helped initiate a Crowdsourcing Unit at FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center. Sophia has an interdisciplinary Ph.D. researching the use of social media in disasters, and also received a B.A. in Social Science with minors in Computer Science and Digital Arts.

Presentation Slides, Video Recording, and Menti Poll

Presentation Slides 

High Quality Video on YouTube

Low Quality Video on Stream

Fill Out Menti Poll

PDF Version of Slides
Not Intended for Wide Distribution

(Slide Notes with Transcript Coming Soon)

Unlisted YouTube Video
Not Intended for Wide Distribution

(Closed Caption in Progress)

Stream is Only Accessible to DOI Bureaus

(Closed Caption in Progress)

Share Potential Flood Projects &
Provide Feedback on Talk

(See Menti Poll Results Here)

Flood & Water-Related Projects

USGS CrowdHydrology and Social.Water 

USGS National Hydrography Markup App

Water and Flood-Related Prize Competitions

NOAA Citizen Science Projects

EyeOnWater - What Does Water Colour Indicate?

iFlood - Improving Flood Predictions

iSeeChange - Community Climate & Weather Journal

MyCoast - Help Chronicle Our Changing Coast

Flood & Water-Related Projects

"Catch the King" Tide - Sea Level Rise App

Coastal Observer - Water and Weather Observations

CrowdWater - Crowdsourcing Hydrological Data

Other Publications & Resources

Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Competitions 

Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing for Flood

Social Media, Social Sensing, Big Data Publications

Publications Above but Shown as Thumbnails

Click to Download Zip File of All Publications


USGS Open Innovation (OI) Community

The USGS Open Innovation (OI) Community welcomes anyone interested in using participatory science and open innovation methods like
Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Challenge / Prize Competitions
to obtain ideas, data, services, and solutions from the public and organizations in an open way. 

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, send an email to: and

Join USGS Open Innovation Teams Site

Search for USGS Open Innovation Team using Code: mom37z3

For non-DOI employees that want to join, send an email to request access.

Join CDI Open Innovation Community Listserv

Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum

Series of talks to inform the development of a USGS Open Innovation Strategy

Ignite OI Forum Stream Channel

Recordings also Available on Past Meeting Webpages

(Stream is Only Accessible to DOI Bureaus)

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