Category Archives: IdeaScale

Data in the city

From seaside to city center, the people of Singapore utilize android and iOS apps every day. Whether it’s accessing the cloud to play music, or getting directions to the best restaurant in town, apps can improve any and every part of the day – if you know which to take advantage of.

Data In the City: Ideas challenge links government data with the people of Singapore to create innovative apps. To improve Singapore, the campaign goes right to the source for submissions – all Singapore residents. Students, long time citizens, and temporary residents alike were welcomed to submit as many ideas as they could come up with between April 14th and June 1st. The only rule for submissions? They must utilize government collected data.

“Connect those living in Singapore to Singapore,” is the goal here. Various offices in Singapore are offering up the use of their collected data in this quest for apps that will make daily activities easier for locals and tourists. After the initial deadline, panelists slimmed the 180 submissions down to 24 ideas for users to vote on. In reviewing, submissions were measure on:

- Use of government data
– Innovativeness
– Feasibility
– Relevance

Voters have until July 12th to support their favorite app submission. Not only will Singapore put the best app ideas into development, the top 10 app innovators will receive prize money for their ideas. The top 3 submissions will each receive $500, and the next 7 will receive $150 each. Don’t you wish your home had it’s very own app that could directly connect you to any of your favorite fast food delivery lines? Or one that connected you to the Land Transport Authority’s inside info on traffic, displayed right in Google Maps? Singapore has discovered and developed a variety of useful and innovative apps in the past. You can check out previous submissions that have already been developed here.

Making the Case for Innovation in 4 Key Areas

Sometimes one of the most common problems that IdeaScale customers face is in educating others about the value of innovation. Businesses are often hesitant to invest real resources into an embedded innovation program, but as Herman Wories stated: “Innovation is no longer a competitive advantage: it’s a competitive necessity. In order to keep up, you need to continuously innovate.”

Innovation is not a startling concept, nor is it surprising that companies that invest in innovation tend to do better than those that don’t. It’s just that successful innovation that really ends up generating rewards for a company needs to be backed by real resources: some dedicated employees and some money for implementation and people get nervous about opening up the budget.

However, there are four key areas that can be impacted by innovation with numerous opportunities for returns on investment and they effect an entire organization. That’s why setting aside budget is a matter that should be considered by everyone. Those areas are:

-      Products. Many organizations that introduce a formal innovation program are looking to improve or replace a company offering. The changes can be small, basic alterations (like tweaks to an application’s user interface) or radical (an entirely new product line). This can be for anything that benefits an end user, from tangible products, to mobile applications, to government services and offerings.
-      Processes. Almost every organization can benefit from process suggestions that can impact savings, efficiency, and general operations on the micro or macro level. These suggestions can be small-scale improvements or high-reach changes that benefit an entire country.
-      Governance. Oftentimes, innovation can be about renovating an organization for the purposes of strengthening a position or accelerating company growth. And those changes can also be small-scale or disruptive.
-      And Markets. Innovations can sometimes completely redefine a market or create a new one. Changes here are almost always transformational in either fundamental or novel approaches to problems.

IdeaScale has created the innovation starter kit to help relieve the workload and ensure success for all burgeoning innovation teams no matter what area they are looking to impact.  Download the kit here and let us know if there’s anything else that we should include in future versions of this offer.

IdeaScale Introduces the Innovation Starter Kit

Starter KitLaunching an innovation program can be overwhelming. This guide outfits innovation leaders and teams with the tools that they will need to reduce workload and plan for a successful implementation that will impact an entire organization. From introducing program benefits, to outlining project roles, to establishing rewards programs – this kit offers all start-up innovation programs the chance to succeed.

Use this kit to bypass the typical innovation hurtles and start delivering high-impact ideas.

The Innovation Starter Kit contains:

An introduction to innovation
-    An innovation project plane template
-    50+ creative rewards to incentivize engagement
-    A best practices tip sheet addressing program engagement
-    A best practices tip sheet addressing program engagement

Download the kit here and let us know if there’s anything else that we should include in future versions of this offer.

Don’t Just Expect Success, Plan On it

When asked, the majority of business leaders will tell you, without hesitation, that their corporation is innovating. Right now, innovation in every industry is driven by leaders tapping into employee experience, customer creativity, and outside expert knowledge through crowdsourcing, and supporting the new and unexpected ideas. But with this expanded network, how do you select the most fruitful ideas for implementation?

Kickstarter’s stats page proudly displays their successes: 63,507 funded projects and $1,160,829,721 pledged. This number is on the rise – I bet it will have risen even by the time you read this. With so much consumer support, you’d think that funded projects would be a sure thing.

Not all funded projects, on Kickstarter or its myriad competitors, make it to the market. Crowdfunding can get the ball rolling, but green entrepreneurs can fall victim to their newness before products make it to market. When products don’t make it to deadline the fans that bought it quickly grow disgruntled, and the results are sadly predictable. Hit the ground running – the planning must start before the campaign, and continue throughout fundraising and production.

According to the Washington Post, in interviewing 100 chief innovation officers from corporations around the globe, Fahrenheit 212 discovered that for 45% of the sample less than 10% of innovation projects ever made it to market, and for 21% of the sample only 10-25%. Only 14% of those sampled could say that 50% or more of their corporations innovations were finalized and entered the market.

Remember Crystal Pepsi and New Coke? Even well established companies, with a dedicated customer base and an array of successful products can fail when they launch new products. Fortunately, Pepsi and Coke managed the failure expertly, and re-won the hearts of their fans before they self-destructed.

For innovation to be disruptive, it must go public – implementation of strategies and systems, and introduction of products to the market. Planning must happen at every step. Know what ideas to implement before you dedicate resources to them with decision matrix software, such as ReviewScale from IdeaScale. Evaluate innovative ideas with known constraints and measurable values. Learn more about putting innovation in it’s place with our webinar introducing the brand new ReviewScale decision matrix software.

Active and Positive Citizen Engagement Tuesday, July 1st, 10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. PST

CitizenEngagement-v1-orangePublic officials around the globe are realizing that they need to find ways to positively engage citizens.  That’s why IdeaScale’s citizen engagement software has been used by a range of government institutions from the municipal to the federal level (including the White House).

When these engagements succeed, the government gets a better understanding of the priorities of its citizens, sources innovative ideas to improve programs and services, and builds a more positive, supportive relationship with voters. The best way to generate these positive results is to prepare a solid strategy from the outset and to that end, IdeaScale is now offering a package of expert and affordable services.

As a first step, IdeaScale is offering a webinar on July 1, featuring Norm Jacknis, Director of Program Development, to review:

- The kinds of problems that can be solved with citizen engagement initiatives
– The challenges that could limit the success of citizen engagement campaigns
– Some interesting and thought provoking examples of citizen engagement

The webinar will be followed by a live question and answer session.

Join us and register for this complimentary webinar today!

Changing the World with Open Government

Making All Voices Count aims to increase civic participation and awareness in governance. Independent Steering Committee Member Rakesh Rajani is quoted on their site, “No government has a monopoly on good ideas or can thrive without feedback.” In launching their Global Innovation Challenge, Making All Voices Count reached out to a worldwide audience of innovators for proposals that would improve government responsiveness and accountability. Submissions accepted from around the world, from citizens, from organizations – all eligible for the £65,000 grand prize.

With support from organizations across the globe, Making All Voices Count strives to establish participatory governance as an effective means of progress. “We used the IdeaScale platform to reach the best of the best and in the end get winners who can transform society through their ideas,” explains Daudi Were, Director of Innovation.

Societal relations between citizens and their governments remain outdated in a world of transparency, openness, and accountability made possible through technology. The Global Innovation Challenge incentivizes citizen participation with monetary rewards, and creates a manageable system for governments to discover and evaluate ideas for potential impact, innovativeness, and scalability.

The Challenge received 196 proposals in just a few weeks from citizens and groups eager to participate. Voters cast more than 68,00 votes, narrowing those proposals down to 30 semi-finalists. Ten finalists were chosen to join Making All Voices Count in Kenya for Global Innovation Week, where the winner was announced. Download our PDF to find out more about the exciting participation levels achieved with IdeaScale. Learn more about how Making All Voices Count is changing the way citizens interact with government, and see the finalists’ proposals here.

 

3 Reasons to Use Crowdsourcing to Innovate Your University

As facilities for research and education, universities must remain current to prosper and draw the best students and staff. In order to eclipse the competition, a university must be constantly innovating, finding the most efficient, most effective methods. With a dedicated, internal crowd of intelligent, eager individuals, crowdsourcing is the ultimate cost saving, renewable resource for growth.

1. Including students and staff in the dialogue on growth will foster a feeling of University pride around campus. Recently the University of Portsmouth, an institution of over 20,000 students in Portsmouth, England, ran a crowdsourced campaign open to their full staff and student body through IdeaScale. A video issued by the organizers encouraged participation with professors proclaiming, “Share your ideas, they’re as good as mine.” Check out the positive feedback and support garnered from the campaign in University of Portsmouth wrap up video here.

2. Colleges and universities have requirements to meet before implementing any proposed ideas. A crowdsourcing platform, such as IdeaScale, will bring all ideas into one easy to monitor and analyze forum. Participators can vote and comment on these ideas, building a case through quantifiable data. Ideas with implementation potential can be explored within the crowd before presentation to decision makers.

3. It works – whether you’re looking to set the course for the future of your university or cut the budget, your staff and students can provide the answers. Thanks to their campaign, Paul Hayes is confident the University of Portsmouth now has a defined vision for the future, a way to get there, and can, “clearly articulate to the world who we are and what we stand for.” The University of Calgary aimed their IdeaScale campaign at budget reduction. Within the 200+ ideas submitted by staff and students, the university found the potential for millions of dollars in savings. To find out more about their success, download the case study here.

4 Advantages of Online Citizen Engagement

image curtesy of UWW ResNet via flickr

image curtesy of UWW ResNet via flickr

Civic engagement is an age-old democratic concept: getting regular people to participate on an individual or collective level in order to direct the government. It’s also a mandate at almost every level and (at this point) a basic public expectation.

But the tool set is changing from having town hall meetings and rooting through suggestion boxes, to a more social and collaborative set of digital tools that can be accessed anywhere, at any time. Think about it: while voting turnout has shown a downturn, engagement on Twitter has skyrocketed. This has happened for a number of reasons, including a vast difference in content that users are engaging with, but there are also a number of advantages offered by crowd-based, digital platforms that present ease and opportunities to both citizens and organizations.

A 2010 study found that 48% of adult internet users have looked to engage with a public policy or issue online. That number equates to millions upon millions of people who have suggestions to offer, solutions to propose, and valuable insight that could change the course of policy and governing for the better. With crowdsourcing, not only can they share these ideas, but they can vote and comment on the ideas of others and help define the next generation of government.

What’s more, they can do it and offer four distinct advantages over traditional methods of content collection:

Low Cost: In-person meetings, arduous processes of managing hard copy suggestions lead to high costs for the government. Introducing a digital collaboration system for suggestion offers a significant savings to government organizations and the taxpayer.

Rapid Response: Because organizations can receive, parse and forward suggestions so quickly in a digital environment, it is also possible to improve delivery efficiency. Numerous IdeaScale and Ideavibes projects have cut the typical implementation cycle in half.

Transparency: Not only does it make government projects visible, it also allows for collaboration and participation. Citizens can solve one another’s problems, become a resource for another, and stay in contact as each idea progresses.

Expanding Reach: Numerous government organizations utilize crowdsourced citizen engagement solutions like IdeaScale not only to gather ideas, but also to get the word out about different government initiatives and source new advocates for new policies.

If you’d like to learn more about how a crowdsorucing campaign might benefit your organization, please download this white paper by Paul Dombowsky, Founder of Ideavibes and crowd expert, who will explain the potential applications of a crowd campaign.

3 Ways to Tap Internal Innovation Potential and Improve Morale

Innovation has become the benchmark of success for growing businesses, world class learning institutions, and government agencies. Public perception might not envisage government as an epicenter for innovation, and unfortunately these sceptics aren’t entirely wrong. According to the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, issued by the Office of Personnel Management, the overall US government-wide innovation score decreased by 2.1 points from 2012 to 2013, down to a regrettable 59.4 out of 100. In a petition to the White House via its We the People website, a frustrated government employee gets to the heart of the problem, “For anyone outside the government, we are not all overpaid, lazy people. some are hard workers with the same problems you have and maybe more.”

Not all agencies suffered – the Federal Communications Commission’s innovation score improved by 4.6 points. NASA ranks as the best large agency to work for, with an innovation score of 76.0. So what did these agencies do differently? Both agencies have sunk themselves into a framework of innovation, built on the IdeaScale platform, fueled by internal experience and knowledge.

Involving Employees From Ideation to Decision Making
Getting employees involved in the decision process is one thing that Peggy Focarino of the Patent and Trademark Office noted was crucial to employee satisfaction, “I think we will continue with our very heavy focus of getting employee input [...] through IdeaScale and letting employees vote to prioritize things they want management to explore and look into.” The Patent and Trademark Office beat out nearly 300 other subcomponents to achieve their spot on top. A platform like IdeaScale provides consistent, easy access for a large crowd, so that employees of every level can contribute ideas and make suggestions. This creates a direct line of communication between the high level decision makers, and the employees affected by these decisions. “And bluntly, it’s our strength that those folks will tell us, because they are closer to [the mission] than we are,” Robert Lightfoot, associate administrator at NASA explained to Federal News Radio.

Rewarding Employees for Good Ideas
From the Best Places to Work research we see that approximately 90% of employees are constantly looking for a better way to do their job, but only 54.7% feel supported by their employers in this pursuit. They have also found that opportunity, reward for, and empowerment to make these changes, as well as 3 other factors (that we’ll discuss in the next section) have a disproportionately high impact on innovation. Ruth Milkman, chief of staff at the FCC taps into this innovation potential by letting employees know, “what they do is important to advancing the mission of the agency, and to doing the things that are important to the American public.”

Being Open with Employees about Implementation
The other 3 big factors found by Best Place to Work are perceived level of respect from upper management, work satisfaction, and opportunities to showcase leadership skills. An IdeaScale community can be a sounding board of ideation, but also a way to keep all employees apprised of implementation. Good ideas can be publicized and congratulated, as well as the work that goes into implementing them. Broadcasting to all employees tells them that they are valued. Making employees a part of big decisions, throughout the cycle, will motivate and inspire future participation.