Need examples of projects

I am looking for possible examples of projects I could use in a story I am writing. The projects would largely be considered massive R&D projects that industry has been unsuccessful at but could theoretically be developed by loosely organized free lancers who connect through social media. A giant collabortation.

It could be curring a disease, solving a social problem, enviromental or energy issues. It can be anything. The story wants to demonstrate the feasability of projects like this through a dramatic scenario. We want to take it from inception to completion with the focus on the individuals making this happen and the dynamics that drive them.

I don’t really know any details but there is a group of gamers out there that actually are attempting this kind of thing. Here’s something I found with a quick search.

That is actually a perfect example. I have been working on my project for almost 15 years now. It keeps evolving. I have always been impressed by the intellect, skills and imagination I see floating around on the web. It seems like there is this enourmous force floating around just waiting to be linked together somehow.

I bring nothing to the table beyond a desire to help these forces somehow link together.

  1. Politicians need TONS of money to run for office so they can pay for TV advertisements. Some politicians are kept off of TV by certain interests (owners of media and TV networks).

  2. To pay for this, politicians become “bought and paid for” by large corporations and foreign governments - they do not represent the interests of the common man.

  3. If “all of people of the U.S.” could by stock in the TV networks (CNN, ABC, CBS, etc.), and gain a “controlling interest”, “the people” could then DEMAND that the networks show all candidates, give them equal time, and do so for free. Then the politicians would not need to raise money to get time on TV - They would be free to represent the interests of the PEOPLE in the U.S. (not corporations), etc.

Simple idea.

A group of loosely organized free lancers will not accomplish much without a central body to plan, organize, and present the problem, as well as understanding, capturing, and presenting results. Even in TriPolar’s example, there has to be some “body” serving this function, and determining direction, as projects tend not to get done very well without someone at the tiller.

That is the whole point, they will become organized in the novel. Intellectual resources not confined to technical will include writers, sales, those who can gather finance etc. Everything comes together, The big motivating factor is acceptance. They only start off loosely organized.

The most obvious distributed projects I can think off offhand are collaborative software development programs consisting of many individual components; for instance, the GNU software project, or Numpy/SciPy/Matplotlib and associated scientific applications, FreeBSD and its descendants, and so forth. However, I think when you delve into these projects you’ll find that there are a few key performers doing most of the architectural heavy lifting (the Matplotlib core was essentially written by one guy in the span of five years), a few people gluing everything together, and then a bunch of people doing testing and writing documentation. “Massive” R&D projects crossing technical disciplines have to managed by their very nature. They can and should be broken into individual components, but someone has to build a structure for interface and coordination (i.e. the systems engineering) and shepherd teams so that things come together on schedule. It is no good having your spacecraft at the launch pad if the launch vehicle team is still trying to figure out why their engine is blowing up on the test stand.

I’ve worked on a few unsolicited proposals which, due to cost and scheduling were done in distributed fashion with everyone supposed to just know to communicate and coordinate their efforts. This never, ever works, because it only takes a single person to fall down on the job or fail to communicate to derail the entire effort. This is why good proposals are written by people shoved into a room for fourteen hours a day until they hate the sight of one another; from that disgust and desperation comes a desire to delivery a proposal so complete and obviously successful that you never have to return to the hell of a proposal “war room” again.