I do a lot of work with Mike Morris, the CEO of Topcoder, which is a talent network and crowdsourcing platform. Morris told me about an awesome and fun competition they ran last week inspired by quantum computing to solve the world’s most difficult Sudoku. A total of 205 competitors submitted solutions from all over the world, with the winning solution coming from a Topcoder member in China.
Topcoder is working with their premiere Japanese partner TC3, and Fujitsu, the leading Japanese information and communication technology company, to host this series of quantum computing-inspired competitions. I think this project is brilliant because to my mind, the series does three important things.
First, it engages the global community of gig workers on Topcoder to have fun and become more skilled in problem solving, using the basics of quantum computing. This is a great example of the passionate communities I wrote about a couple weeks back. Second, it proves the problem-solving capacity of this new technology to companies, to the general public, and also to people already in the Topcoder crowd interested in learning more. And third, it shares this very important point: The most sophisticated open strategies and tools are already accessible to your company, without needing to bring your teams through additional training or hire new employees.
Most of us are familiar with Sudoku (and some of us stay far, far away) but who understands quantum computing? Not many. What’s happening here, with these competitions, is that Topcoder, TC3 and Fujitsu are showing us that we can keep our companies current and relevant. All we have to do is tap into the skilled talent that is already curated on platforms like Topcoder. “Never before have companies had to adapt this quickly to changing technology,” says Morris. “Yet these new technologies are already enabling companies to grow and scale faster and more efficiently. While it may be impossible to train an internal team, or onboard new staff fast enough to keep up with methods like quantum, or blockchain or AI, It’s completely possible and cost-effective to work with platforms where the talent already exists.”
We are in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution. Work is becoming digitized, and open systems and edge technologies like quantum computing are changing how work gets done. “Any leader within a large enterprise needs to be thinking a few years out about what the future looks like,” says Morris. “What type of talent will they need to innovate and scale their business? Where will they find that talent? Through competition-based, on-demand talent models where expert work in cutting-edge technologies rises to the top.”
The future of work will be less about scaling infrastructure and teams, and more about tapping into open tools like quantum computing, blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI). How does the C-suite respond to this changing model? Companies who’ve prepared for the future of work by using talent from crowd platform’s like Topcoder will have a big advantage over companies that are not.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Forbes.