How to Conquer Distance with Collaboration

WAPOLLong distance relationships are never easy. This is especially true of large-scale organizations which are housed in multiple and varied locations. Sometimes differing locations will have differing needs but more often they have similar struggles. Like the Western Australia Police.

The Western Australia Police recently began using IdeaScale as a method of conquering that distance; namely a distance that covers over 2.5 million square kilometers, including 11 districts and 197 police stations in both urban and rural areas. As a result of their Frontline 2020 initiative, the WAP feels more connected and collaborative than ever. The kilometers between are hardly noticeable with the centralized digital meeting spot to recommend better ways of working, solutions to problems, and collaborate with fellows—regardless of physical location. It also allows workers the opportunity to note the similarities amongst themselves, to realize that they are not as isolated as they might physically feel sometimes.

As Deputy Commissioner Steven Brown relayed, one of the best outcomes of Frontline 2020 has been the ability for all members of their workforce to have one central location to identify “the things that make it hard for them to get their jobs done,” things which the Deputy Commissioner says are often easy to fix once they are known. In essence, the program allows for everyone in the community to feel heard and respected in the process. Moreover, the WAP emphasizes their appreciation for the participation of their workforce by responding to every suggestion, and incentivizing with the possibility for small prizes.

In addition to a more engaged, collaborative workforce, the ideas coming from Frontline 2020 have already had a positive impact on the administrative and logistical side as well, saving thousands of hours of work time.

To find out more about the Western Australia Police and Frontline 2020, click here to download the recent case study.

Blog Migration

Greetings IdeaScale followers,

I wanted to let you know that we’ll ’ll be moving our blog to and that your subscriptions will hopefully be going along with us.  This is because, while you will continue to receive email notifications of new posts as before, followers will only see new posts in the Reader. You will not receive email updates unless you subscribe to receive those on your new site here:

Looking forward to sharing lots of new insights and ideas about innovation!

Challenge to Advance Drug Abuse and Addiction Research

image1grayThe most recent statistics show that 7.9 million Americans, 12 or older, used hallucinogens or psychotherapeutic prescription drugs non-medically within the past month (NIDA). Of the approximately 7,898 Americans who use drugs for the first time every day, more than half (52%) are under the age of 18 at the time (NIDA). As of 2012 approximately 23.1 million Americans suffered from drug or alcohol abuse or dependence, while only 2.5 million actually received treatment for their dependence or abuse from a specialty facility. From current addicts to future substance abusers to their families and friends, these issues affect our nation daily.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is dedicated to leveraging science in the research and treatment of drug abuse and addiction. As part of their 2016-2020 strategic planning, NIDA is running a series of open innovation challenges targeted to drive advancements in the research of drug abuse and addiction treatment methods, systems, and approaches from outside of their organization and traditional networks. The second challenge of this series is titled, “Harnessing Insights from other Disciplines to Advance Drug Abuse and Addiction Research.”

NIDA will be awarding a prize pool of up to $25,000, including a potential $15,000 for 1st place. Submissions are being accepted through June 30th, followed by a three week judging period, with winners being announced on August 6, 2015. All submissions should describe an innovative concept or technology and how it can be applied to an outstanding question in drug abuse or addiction research. Find full submission requirements and deadlines at the challenge page.

With this open innovation challenge, NIDA wants to reach out beyond networks and researches traditionally associated with drug abuse and addiction to leverage recent advances in research and technology in their own research. This challenge is part of NIDA’s strategic planning for 2016-2020. Seeking innovations that could influence the direction of research for those years, NIDA finds it important to utilize findings in any and all fields that could improve research in drug abuse and addiction. Do you have specialized knowledge that could yield results in their research? Submit today: Insights from other Disciplines Challenge.


introducing causetechEver wanted to change the world from the comfort of your own home? You may have a chance to do just that.

A new global innovation ecosystem will soon make its debut. Utilizing a dedicated community site CauseTech.Net, powered by IdeaScale, the “Succeed Where There’s a Need” campaign promotes social entrepreneurship and aims to aggregate the world’s best and brightest. The focus is specifically on helping UNICEF scale its efforts to meet the ever-growing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and excluded children across 150 countries. suggests five big challenges that the campaign is trying to address: lack of access to water, lack of access to education, lack of access to electricity, lack of access to sanitation, and lack of access to health care. You can also see examples of innovations that are already working to improve these situations, including a self-powered streetlight and a water generator that produces drinking water from air.

UNICEF is joined in partnership by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and the Global Renewable Energy & Environmental Network (GREEN), as well as a number of other esteemed partners and affiliates. At every level—from an individual who might have an innovative idea to private sector partners who can help fund the scaling of projects—there is an opportunity to support the initiative.

Dr. Sharad Sapra, the director of the UNICEF Global Innovation Center, said of the campaign, “Our development strategy is to be the connector between all the relevant actors in the value chain, to ensure innovative solutions can be successfully implemented and scaled across regions and contexts. Achieving our goal of reaching every child requires disrupting ‘business as usual.’ New ways of thinking have to be developed. Assumptions and strategies must change. That’s why innovation is so important.”

Dr. Sapra talks about CauseTech in this video about the program:


The platform will allow for ongoing ideation, but will also run timed contests curated by UNICEF Innovation teams. The first official contest will focus on alternative energy solutions for Burundi, a country where only three percent of the population is connected to the electricity grid.

You can find out more by visiting CauseTech.Net.

Strategies for Maximizing Government Employees for City Crowdsourcing


City governments all have the same goal: to improve their communities for their citizens in a smarter and more creative way. An issue that local government leaders run into is in creating both cost-effective and efficient solutions to issues that citizens think are important. The best source of innovation and new ideas often comes from internally. Harnessing city employees’ wisdom can prove to be the best way to begin improving a city for all members of the community.

Within the employee pool, there are individuals who will rise above the rest, and emerge as innovation leaders. These leaders who are interested and committed to innovative, new ideas for the city will prove to be instrumental in improving cities. Utilizing these individuals as influencers in their respective departments will promote innovation from within.

Another key to promoting and maintaining innovation is recognizing active participants in the community. Identifying those who are involved and participate in generating and contributing ideas is crucial. This will help in boosting employee satisfaction because their opinions are being heard and acknowledged.

The platform for idea generation and discussion must foster open communication among all groups. Employees across departments and levels should be encouraged to communicate their ideas with one another. Further, decision makers should offer input and participate in these discussions as well. This creates a sense of community and accomplishment that will drive participation.

By integrating government employees in coming up with solutions to city issues, decision makers can determine what issues are of most importance and fast track policies that will address those issues first. Read about how the City of Atlanta crowdsourced ideas from their government employees which resulted in ideas that had a potential cost savings of $7.1 million.

What are some other ideas that local governments can use to include employees in generating creative solutions to city issues?

How to Work Like a Startup

work like a startupStartups are some of the most successful and innovative businesses out there right now. Their very nature makes them primed for innovation programs and effective development of new ideas. Even if your organization is not a startup, there are invariably things that you can learn from the models presented by the startup ecosystem.

RocketSpace, a tech campus located in the Bay Area, has an open innovation consultancy which is specifically aimed at helping brands understand how startups work, how to work with them, and how to work like them.

With well-known alumni like Uber and Spotify, RocketSpace is well acquainted with the factors that go into creating a successful and recognizable startup. They are also ready to connect organizations with startups that might specialize in a desired area. After all, why start from scratch when there’s already somebody doing the thing that you want to do, and doing it better than you could do?

Join us on Wednesday, June 3 as we talk with Nick Davis at RocketSpace and Mat Fogarty at IdeaScale about innovation programs in our webinar, From Ideation to Incubation. Click here to register and learn more information. The webinar will address the 3 I’s of innovation, the 4 reasons that idea execution is difficult, how to de-risk new ideas, and how innovators can build their next big thing with RocketSpace. It will also feature a live Q&A.

One Weird Thing About Customer Satisfaction

customer satisfactionHere’s one weird thing about customer satisfaction: it may be that your employees have the key to improving it. After all, employees are the people who interact with customers on a day-to-day basis, and are most aware of common concerns amongst customers, as well as improvements that will have the biggest impact. Further, employees have knowledge of the structure and resources of the organization from the inside, so they are better equipped to recommend practical changes.

Banchile Inversiones, a Chilean management company that provides one of the largest mutual funds markets and stock brokerage businesses in the country, has firsthand experience with this phenomenon of employee feedback to improve customer satisfaction. Like many other companies, they had long welcomed employee input through antiquated systems like email and evaluations, but found those systems difficult to scale up. In an effort to continue to gather great ideas, and to ensure that employees felt heard, Banchile started using IdeaScale.

Perhaps their most effective strategy was the extensive planning and design surrounding the implementation of the innovation initiative. Not only did they have a system in place for gathering and evaluating ideas, they also created a comprehensive strategy to stimulate internal engagement. The latter is especially important when you are introducing a completely new feedback system within your company. Banchile had a three-pronged approach: a CEO announcement at annual company meeting; email with a link to the community to every employee; and a method of rewards for involvement.

In addition to this internal marketing approach, the team also responded to every idea that was put forth. Combined, these efforts impressed upon employees an appreciation of their input and incentive to continue to participate.

As a result, Banchile was able to identify five new projects through their first campaign that will help to improve customer satisfaction company-wide.

To read more about how Banchile Inversiones enacted their innovation campaigns, and about the five new projects which were implemented, download our recent case study here.

Starting with a Great Strategy

great strategyMore and more these days, great organizations are employing innovation programs. These organizations have come to realize that, in order to stay relevant, it’s imperative to continue evaluating and growing.

While deciding to incorporate an innovation program may be an easy decision, deciding the structure and strategy surrounding that program can be more difficult. How do you encourage and foster good ideas? What do you do with new ideas once they’ve surfaced? What is the best way to evaluate ideas? The questions abound.

RocketSpace, a technology campus in San Francisco, makes a point of observing and understanding the things that make startups effective, and then incorporating those things into other organizations or connecting those organizations to startup partners. They have found that starting with a great innovation strategy can make all the difference. Knowing how you are going to deal with ideas, and how to foster them into real, practical applications is essential to the success of an innovation program.

Don’t miss our webinar with RocketSpace, From Ideation to Incubation, on Wednesday, June 3. Click here to register and find out more information. Among other topics, the webinar will include a live Q&A where you can get advice from and connect with innovators from RocketSpace and IdeaScale.

Why Does the Government Need Innovation Now?


Innovation seems to be the buzzword these days when it comes to technology, business, policy, and everything in between. The Partnership for Public Service, Deloitte, and Hay Group  recently released their 2014 report on the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. The top ranked agencies, NASA, the State Department, and the Commerce Department have remained constant for the past two years. These agencies have also consistently ranked higher than their other government counterparts for innovation. Why are government agencies focused so heavily on innovation lately?

As the government is experiencing budget cuts, agencies need innovative ideas to create more efficient and improved services and ways of doing business. However, federal agencies often face a number of challenges other than limited budgets; lack of employee engagement, low levels of employee motivation, traditional policies, and an absence of new ideas all impede an agency’s ability to advance. Focusing efforts on innovation is an opportunity for agencies to address and overcome these challenges.

What are some other reasons governments are innovating?

•Attract more potential employees. Millennials look for workplaces that have reputations of innovation and creativity when looking for jobs

•Increase your employees’ satisfaction by rewarding innovative ideas

•Increase employee engagement with new projects and policies

Read more about government agencies that are working to implement innovation into their ways of doing business and how IdeaScale fostered a platform of ideas that ended up saving the government $42 million by 2014. What opportunities do these agencies have to further improve and to save the government more in the future?

Innovations in Measuring and Managing Drug Addiction Treatment

NIDA-blogThe National Institute on Drug Addiction has issued an exciting new challenge that breaks the boundaries between research specialties to improve the quality of drug addiction treatment. The Challenge, including the official rules and submission criteria, can be seen here:

Group and individual submitters are competing for part of a $100,000 prize pool. “Innovations in Measuring and Managing Drug Addiction Treatment Quality” will accept white papers describing solutions up until June 1, 2015 at Once registered, individuals can utilize the Forum section of the site to build teams that expand the breadth of their knowledge and research background.

The white paper should describe:

•  Novel quality measurement and management system.

•  How the concepts behind this novel system could be used to improve the quality of addiction treatment.

•  The research or other gaps that need to occur for these quality improvements to be established.

•  How these new measurement and management systems might be evaluated.

This challenge is open to anyone, including experts and researchers familiar with as well as those outside of the field of drug addiction treatment. The mission of this Challenge is to expand the knowledge and research that goes into quality measurement and management for addiction treatment. Through Open Innovation, NIDA seeks novel ways to evaluate the quality of treatment so as to improve the evaluation system.