Category Archives: IdeaScale

Tomorrow is the Final Day to Submit to the Open Innovation Awards!

image curtesy of nicolas will via flickr

image courtesy of nicolas will via flickr

If you’re part of an IdeaScale community you’ve probably already heard about our second annual Open Innovation Awards. Over the past few months we’ve been asking all of you to share your success stories. We’ll be selecting a Best Moderation Strategy, Best Engagement Strategy, and a Best Innovation – all of which come with prizes… and some serious bragging rights. But the submission deadline is tomorrow Friday the 14th, and we want to hear your unique, inspiring, exceptional innovation story.

At IdeaScale we love this time of year. Hearing about the struggles and accomplishments in your innovation communities is always educational and helpful, but it’s also fun. It won’t be easy to decide who will win the titles, and the prizes that go with them, this year!

For all of you who have already submitted, or are routing for a community you know and love, finalists will be notified on December 5th, and the winners will be announced on December 19th! Can’t wait another five weeks to get your fix of innovation? You can read up on all of last year’s winners!

•   Yale

•   Marriott

•   UNCW

•   State of Minnesota

•   The Cerebral Palsy Alliance


So what are you waiting for? Submit today!

Support the Vote: 3 Reasons IdeaScale Loves Voting

In case you hadn’t heard, IdeaScale loves voting! It’s part of crowdsourcing, part of our platform and part of our culture here at work. In fact, anyone who wants to take a free vacation day on Election Day in order to volunteer at the polls is welcome to do so. This year, nearly two-thirds of the home office will be volunteering at precincts all around the Bay Area on November 4th.

But why are we so jazzed about voting? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but here are a few:

1. Voting is so natural that instances of it are even observable in the animal kingdom. Some studies have noted that “consensus decision making is common in non-human animals, and that cooperation between group members in the decision-making process is likely to be the norm (more so than monarchal and dictatorial approaches to decision-making). Can voting be classified as a “certified organic” process?

2. Voting has some serious precedent. The right to vote originated in ancient Athens, the birthplace of democracy. Democracy came about in the fifth century BC. Even now in Greece, anyone over the age of 18 is required to vote.

3. It’s going to change a lot in the next 50 years. Voting has been a part of us for a long time, but with the digital age in full swing, it’s never been easier to feel the power of a groundswell movement. What voting looks like now is just the beginning and it will continue to evolve in numerous ways as the technology develops and becomes more integrated into numerous processes.

We hope that if you’re in the Bay Area, we run into you in our precincts. Or that we don’t, because you’ve already mailed in your ballot. And our now well-trained team of volunteers can educate you on ranked-choice voting or provisional ballots or any other questions that you might have.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @IdeaScale for poll station selfies and updates throughout the day on November 4th and, in the meantime, please enjoy this Rock the Vote message from Lil’ Jon and friends.

IdeaScale is Ranked #513 on the Inc. 5000

inc5000_num_513It’s been nearly five years since IdeaScale launched it’s first campaign – an Open Gov initiative from the office of President Obama. We were recently ranked #513 on the Inc. 5000 list.  In the three years Inc based the rank on we’ve grown by 916%, and added 16 new members to our team. We are elated by the news, and proud of what we’re growing into. For us that 513 meant moving into a larger office with extra space and a bigger fridge. It also meant development on all fronts.

We’ve learned from our users – both the moderators running our software and the end users driving the results. In 2010 we enhanced moderator customization with features like moderator fields, custom fields for selective emailing, and tags.

By 2011 we were working on our gamifcation game. Community leaderboards were already in full swing, encouraging participation by showing users how they ranked against their peers. Two years in, we used what we’d learned from user behavior and added in customizable badges – a way to celebrate all of the participation styles required to build the most robust innovation operation. Getting beyond points and votes brings character to a community, and rewards more users.

Innovation is king, it’s what drives us to build our software. Working directly with our customers means we’ve had a first row seat to over 13,000 innovation campaigns. The number one lesson we learned? Innovation is a process. Introducing assessment tools and our newest edition, ReviewScale – decision matrix software that allows you to weigh ideas across factors and restrictions before you put them into implementation.

Of course, we aren’t done growing. As more businesses and organizations find ways to integrate innovation into their process, our job shifts into exciting new territory. A huge thank you to Inc. for the recognition, and an equally huge thank you to all of the innovators who have set up, moderated, or participated in an IdeaScale community.

4 Lessons Learned from IdeaScale’s OI Awards

image curtesy of mo riza via flickr

image courtesy of mo riza via flickr

One of the most important reasons that IdeaScale hosts the IdeaScale Open Innovation Awards is to be able to learn, share, and develop industry-leading best practices that we can share with our subscribers our the broader innovation community. We learned a lot from our winners last year, because the layered creativity on top of standard best practices and there are a few of them that we want to share on here today.

A Well-Defined Process Is Linked To Measurable ROI. Whether it was about an engagement strategy or the ability to assess company savings, the communities that had defined their process well were able to report real results. We think that means that a company with a great pre-launch strategy is going to be better able to articulate their success in the end. Plan accordingly.

The Magic Combination of Online and Offline. The most successful solutions were great at crossing the bridge between online and offline communications. Not only would they promote their community digitally, but they would also showcase it in employee roadshows or have a real wall featuring innovative ideas from the community.

Time-Limited Challenges Create Urgency. Even when the goal is ongoing innovation, adding a deadline often helps people get excited and involved. Someone once told me that the best method of spurring creativity was a simple tool. He said it’s invisible, everyone has it and it works without fail: a deadline. Creating short term campaigns (even ones that you’ll run again but will deliver new results on) keeps people returning to a community.

Work with Your Partners to Increase Reach. Partner networks are a great resource that can help you enrich your network. If you arm them with the tools to communicate with their audience, then they’ll help funnel more life into your community. The Cerebral Palsy Alliance provides their organizations with posters, pamphlets, email templates, tweets and more to help those networks begin the conversation.

To learn more from last year’s winners, check out their stories here:

    –  Yale
    –  Marriott
    –  UNCW
    –  State of Minnesota
    –  The Cerebral Palsy Alliance

If you’d like to nominate a community to become a winner in this year’s IdeaScale Open Innovation Awards, please visit our site.

The World Cerebral Palsy Alliance is Asking for Help from the Crowd

WCPD14_Logo_USA_HRChange My Wold in 1 Minute, the IdeaScale community launched by the World Cerebral Palsy Alliance, is nearing the end of its idea and vote phase. In celebration of World CP Day, the community gathers ideas on how to improve the lives of those living their lives with CP. Submissions can be written or in video form, but here’s the catch – it must take the reader (or viewer) one minute or less to take in your idea!

With hundreds of ideas already submitted, the community is now open to voting. Competition is heating up, as a People’s Choice Prize of $500 will be awarded to the submitter of the top voted idea. Of course, all ideas will be reviewed by a panel including the most expert of experts – individuals living with CP and their families.

The current campaign is the third annual challenge of it’s kind. Through this campaign the World CP Alliance is able to promote education and awareness. But they ask that audience to do more than just listen – they want everyone to join in the charge. If everyone could donate just 1 minute, how much change could we see?

This year long event culminates in teams presenting actual solutions to the problems and ideas laid out in the World CP community. Year’s past have seen some incredible work, and this year’s challenge will certainly result in more amazing designs. Until the end of October, you don’t have to be an expert, you don’t have to be able to build a solar powered wheelchair, or a an exercise program designed for people with CP, all you have to do is join the community and vote! Visit the campaign here to see all of the already submitted ideas and vote on your favorites. Don’t miss any ideas, log in regularly as ideas are still being submitted. The People’s Choice most popular idea might be yours!

Innovation Without Borders: Creating Change Movements November 19th, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. PST

innowobordersWhat if your brainstorming group went global?

Building a successful innovation program requires flexible boundaries between disciplines, a focus on multiple organizational goals, and the ability to measure value beyond the bottom line. Enter innovation without borders – the ability to connect globally with multiple networks that will propel a business forward.

Everyone is now familiar with what they call Joy’s Law: “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” Sourcing ideas globally, publicly from a rich network of stakeholders, customers, subject matter experts and beyond is a resource that is now available to organizations of all sizes in this digital age.

Join IdeaScale in this exclusive webinar that explores the boundaries of ideation, the best practices that are part of borderless innovation, and the structure that helps shape success. This webinar will cover:

•  An introduction to borderless innovation

•  A discussion of how technology supplements borderless innovation

•  A summary of how innovation without borders was applied in a global competition

The webinar will include a live Q&A with the speakers. Join us and register for this complimentary webinar today!

Speakers Include:
Prith Banerjee, Managing Director of Global Technology R&D, Accenture
Rob Hoehn, CEO, IdeaScale
Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States

Beyond the Idea

image curtesy of firelknot via flickr.

image courtesy of firelknot via flickr

A great idea can be hard won or emerge in a moment. But the idea isn’t the end of the journey, it’s only the beginning. The ground between a great idea and a great success spans development, launch, and reception.

Google’s gmail took over three years to develop, it launched in beta eight years after it was first attempted. The early development, where it was used internally, and the beta stages accessible by invite only users, allowed google, a search site, to refine their new offering. It’s hard now to remember a time when the launch of gmail seemed questionable, but at the time of launch is was poised to be a breakthrough, or a miserable failure. From the search function to the massive storage, the free email functioned more as an app than its competitors’ website centered functionality. Every feature that set google apart represented a user preference. (Time)

An idea must have an audience, as 3M chemist Spencer Silver discovered. Silver discovered a mild adhesive, just strong enough to attach to an object, but weak enough for the bond to be broken, and then adhesive to still adhere to a new surface. Unfortunately, this discovery was made in the process of attempting to create new, stronger adhesives, so Silver’s discovery was officially shelved. Undeterred, Silver persisted in sharing his discovery with his coworkers and colleagues. The core idea of the adhesive became the post-it note when another 3M employee sought a way to get his bookmarks to stay in a book without falling out. (NPR)

The development phase is where an idea turns into a market worthy offering with strong value proposition. As valuable as this development is, a succinct template for refinement can improve time to market. On October 21st IdeaScale is broadcasting a complimentary webinar to introduce CO-STAR: a refinement template and new module within our innovation management tool. Guests from EDG, the creators of the CO-STAR method, and the BBC will present the template and share use cases. Register today.

IdeaScale Open Innovation Awards: What We’re Looking For

open innovation awards

image courtesy of seth waite via flickr

IdeaScale’s second annual Open Innovation Awards are live and taking submissions! We’re taking submissions in three categories: Best Engagement strategy, Best Moderation Strategy, and Best Innovation. Prizes include Apple iPad Minis, discounted 2015 IdeaScale subscriptions, and the chance to fast track a new, 2015 IdeaScale feature. So what are we looking for in submissions?

Unique Approaches – Approaching problems with new systems and ideas is what innovation is all about. How has your community approached its mission? From the questions and topics being tackled, to the community set-up, idea submission and nurture, and how information is relayed back to the community – tell us about the approach that made your campaign run.

Creativity – The IdeaScale Open Innovation Awards are a celebration of the innovating behind your campaign’s innovation. No two IdeaScale campaigns are ever the same. What makes your campaign unique? Tell us about your favorite aspect of your campaign – share the defining details.

New Tactics – How did you get your community to submit ideas? To vote and comment? How did you maintain levels of engagement? Share the behind-the-scenes work that went into making your campaign flourish.

Quantifiable Metrics – It’s okay, go ahead and brag – you’ve earned it. We’re looking for the full picture of your achievements. When you submit, share the metrics of your success.

Planning and executing an innovation campaign is a large undertaking in any industry. The IdeaScale Open Innovation Awards are your chance to share what you’ve learned and accomplished at your IdeaScale campaign with the innovation community. Submissions will be accepted until November 14th, 2014, but don’t wait – submit today.

Before Citizen Engagement

image curtesy of opensource.com via flickr

image courtesy of opensource.com via flickr

The most effective governments are those that built for and with the citizens. This requires that the government be in tune with the needs and opinions of its citizens, but also that the citizens be well-informed and granted easy access to the decisions of their government. Citizen Engagement is more than a trend, it’s the modern means of keeping the citizenry and the the state in tune.

In early democracies, states were small enough to allow for direct democracy. One of the three branches of Ancient Athenian government was made entirely of citizens. The Assembly held the power to make decisions on the function of its government. When the United States was a younger nation, meetings were held in New England town halls for the citizens to get up and speak their mind before decisions were made. To attend was a choice, and to speak was not required, but in both of these examples citizens willingly participated.

The label of democracy or republic is less significant than the line of communication between the government and the people. For a government to run smoothly, voting cannot occur as frequently as decisions are made, and most modern governments are too large for all of their citizens to gather in a town hall. Creating a channel from decision makers to the citizens they represent allows for transparency and builds trust, and serves as a real-time measure of public opinion.

Transparency and trust are crucial to maintaining a strong government. It’s no surprise that the establishment of a free press tends to coincide with large jumps in functionality and innovation within governments’ history. A free press represents an engaged citizenry. These knowledgeable members of society have more realistic impressions of what their government can do for them. They are more inclined to lend their time, resources, and knowledge to their government.

Citizen Engagement is a necessary tool in government innovation. Engaged, citizens who see their government clearly are most able to make the best decisions regarding policy and process. If you’d like to find out more about how to develop a citizen engagement program for your agency or department, join us on September 30th for a complimentary webinar, register now.

Department of Labor: Solving Problems and Raising Awareness with National Dialogues

DOL-b&wThe United States Department of Labor is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re- employment services, and more.

ePolicyWorks is a special initiative launched by the Department of Labor which empowers web- based policymaking that engages citizens in order to address barriers to employment for people with disabilities and foster employment success of those living with disabilities. The initiative is also the award-winning host of an important series of online dialogues that enable ODEP to enlist the public’s input on key policy issues related to the employment of people with disabilities by channeling the brainpower of federal partners, nonprofits, NGOs and other stakeholders. IdeaScale is the platform for collaboration.

The Department of Labor has hosted more than seven online dialogues utilizing the IdeaScale platform. Each dialogue lasts approximately four weeks and follows an adaptable seven-step process.

After launching seven dialogues, the team is proud to report:

-     This strategy has won the ePolicyworks team recognition from the Secretary of Labor as part of their Honor Awards for the Federal Partners in Transition National Online Dialogue Team.
-     Over 5,000 community members have generated more than 600 ideas and 13,000 votes across all the dialogues.
-     Every state in the US has been represented across the challenges.
-     That the dialogues have improved policy efficiency substantially. A process that has traditionally taken five-years has been collapsed into a single year.

To learn about how the national dialogues have impacted policy and for a deeper understanding of the seven steps for a successful national dialogue, download the case study here.