Tag Archives: engagement

Community Feature—Fairfax County Park Authority

FCPAJust southwest of Washington, D.C., across the Potomac River, is the County of Fairfax in Virginia. Home to the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, not to mention Mount Vernon, estate of one George Washington, Fairfax County is also home to a thriving parks department known officially as the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA).

The FCPA recently concluded a two-month long call to arms for Fairfax County residents to voice their opinions on their parks, as part of a long-standing commitment to evaluate the needs and interests of community members. In summer of 2014, the FCPA started their IdeaScale community out with several park authority generated prompts as conversation points about improvements, prompts like how trials are used and “I would use parks more if…” From those initial starting points, citizens added their own topics.

This seems to have been perhaps the best choice that the FCPA has made: allowing residents to collaborate on ideas that are proposed by other residents, with little or no interjection from the parks authority. For example, when somebody suggested that the county was in need of some baseball complexes to help ease the load on school baseball fields, other members jumped in with suggestions of where potential baseball complexes might fit.

Ultimately the FCPA will have to assess whether those suggestions are realistic or doable with their resources, but it surely shows the strength of crowdsourcing within a community, as all members are entirely invested in the result. It allows those ideas that are the most impactful to the most people to rise to the top based solely on the concerns of those within the community. It also illustrates the FCPA’s commitment to serving their population’s needs, that they would observe the process and not interject with naysaying and impossibilities.

Now that the information gathering stage of the evaluation is complete, the FCPA is honoring and considering the contributions of the populous by developing a survey which will be sent to 15,000 residences in early 2015. From there, the results will be tabulated and action items will be shared, with development of ideas beginning in late 2015. In the meantime, the parks authority is keeping everyone apprised with updates of the process via their website. We look forward to seeing what improvements are most essential to the Fairfax County Park Authority. What kind of changes would you like to see in your community?

3 Goals of Sustainable Innovation

Goals of Sustainable InnovationWe’re all familiar with a contest model of crowdsourcing. A contest model often presents a targeted, prompted invitation to participate in a crowdsourcing moment, usually with a deadline. But what happens after the deadline is over? Many organizations are moving beyond that traditional contest model and aiming for sustainable innovation. Here are three goals of sustainable innovation for which to strive:

Continuous engagement. If exciting changes are happening all of the time, rather than within the deadlines of a contest, there’s much more reason to be invested. Sustainable innovation incentivizes stakeholders both inside and outside the organization to stay engaged.

Collaboration. Like a snowball rolling downhill, when innovation has no boundaries, it can grow exponentially. And like that snowball, it is made greater by as many contributions as possible. When accomplished judiciously, sustainable innovation allows for everyone at all levels of involvement with an organization to feel heard and necessary in the process.

Enacting the most impactful innovations. When there are no restrictions on innovation, there is time to fully develop and realize the best ideas, and enact those that are able to have the biggest impact.

To learn more about techniques and best practices for sustainable innovation, as well as about the Department of Energy’s Sunshot Catalyst Program, join us on December 9 for our webinar, Sustainable Innovation: Moving Beyond Slingshot Challenges.  Click here for more information, and to register for this complimentary webinar.

It’s All about Engagement

photo curtesy of erika via flickr

photo courtesy of erika via flickr

Crowdsourcing can result in disruptive ideas, in ideas that will improve efficiency, new product ideas, ideas with impressive return on investment. Innovation is a necessary tool for all industries, which allows any organization to reach beyond a small pool of decision makers and harness the insights and ideation of the crowd.

How can you guarantee your crowd will participate in your crowdsourcing campaign? How can you ensure engagement levels to validate the resources put in? Innovation is about shaking things up – about finding a new way to handle an old problem. Do not let that trick you into thinking it is a fully organic process, innovation takes planning.

The first step in producing engagement is defining how you’ll measure for success. In crowdsourcing there are 4 kinds of engagement:

Initial Idea: One way to measure is by how many ideas are submitted. Often number of votes is the best measure of your campaign’s reach.

Idea nurturing: Measuring engagement by how many participants comment on submissions is a more accurate measure of group ideation and idea development.

Voting: If you’re looking for the most popular votes, larger number of voters and votes cast results in more statistically reliable reports.

Number of participants: Whether they vote on only a few ideas, or submitted a dozen ideas, the number of participants reached by a campaign can be a measure of successful reach.

To engage the crowd, you must determine which crowd you’re reaching out to. There are three basic sources for crowdsourcing:

Internal and Pre-Existing: The days of the all-knowing CEO have passed, reaching out to employees – of every level, taps into a much larger

External and Pre-Existing: For organizations interested in marketability and product development ideas, the desired crowd will be customers. Let the end-user tell you what they want and why – they come fully versed and eager to share their thoughts.

External Solicitation: At the core of innovation is Henry Chesbrough’s thesis that staying competitive means capitalizing on both internal and external sources.

IdeaScale has developed an Innovation Starter Kit to assist organizations in innovation. With your parameters in place, find out how to target for engagement in our Community Engagement Tip Sheet. Download the kit here for more tips and tools on planning, establishing, and moderating your campaign.

It’s Raining Features! A Tour of IdeaScale’s Latest Functionality

3776946155_e812869823_oFor those of you that want to ensure success for 2014’s innovation programs, IdeaScale is offering a complimentary webinar review of all IdeaScale new features on Wednesday, March 19th at 10am PDT.

Hosted by IdeaScale and featuring Audrey Zuro, Director of New Business, this conversation will include a tour of IdeaScale new features and their benefits. This includes custom workflow, pairwise comparison, challenge-modeled innovation and more.

The benefits of such programs can include
• increased engagement
• higher quality submissions
• innovation program efficiencies
• and much more.

In addition, Zuro will briefly discuss previews of other features that are in the works for the rest of 2014.

Join us and register for this complimentary webinar today.

Two Prevailing Themes from Winners of Open Innovation Awards

OpenInnovationAward-winner-v4The 2013 IdeaScale Innovation Awards were designed to celebrate organizations that have demonstrated the most effective utilization of the IdeaScale solution. Each winner submitted an entry in one of the five categories: Best Engagement Strategy, Best Moderation Strategy, Wildest Innovation, Savings Expert, or Efficiency Expert.

As you know, winners in each of these categories receive a discount on their IdeaScale license for 2014 and the opportunity to fast track a feature on the IdeaScale 2014 feature roadmap (among other things).

The winners represent a diverse group of organizations, ranging from a nonprofit to a university, from a commercial business to a state IT department. In their submissions, they were asked to share an overview of their “open innovation initiative,” as well as a description of their engagement strategy.

While each of the organizations had their own unique realizations while implementing the IdeaScale solution within their communities, there were two themes that transcended and seemed overarching strategies for promoting successful innovation.

The introduction of crowdsourcing to a community necessitates a thoughtful communications and structuring plan. The Cerebral Palsy Alliance, in explaining their engagement strategy, outlined the physical changes they enacted in the workplace, creating an Innovation Space in the corporate offices. In an effort to foster a new ethos of innovation and collaboration, they also incorporated verbiage reflecting such into the job descriptions of each of their staff members. The State of Minnesota’s Information Technology agency emphasized the importance of crafting strong network promotions and establishing infrastructure prior to the launch of the campaign. Yale University ITS stated, “Becoming a more innovative organization means changing the culture.”

The second, and perhaps the most poignant, of these similarities was the capacity to engage and provide agency to network members. As these winners have learned, the more that you are able to allow constituents to contribute in a way in which they can see the results, the more invested they feel in the choices that are made. This refers to both the allowance to suggest changes, as well as the ability to express opinions on others’ ideas. Moreover, when all community members are made to feel heard, authentic conversations can begin, and from that comes true collaborative and innovative ideas.

We can see the evidence of this so clearly in the numbers from University of North Carolina-Wilmington, who related that in the 2012-2013 school year, “more than 4,000 users cast over 5,200 votes and posted 813 comments on 94 ideas submitted by faculty and staff.” The ideas that were submitted at Marriott Vacations Worldwide, through The Idea Depot, resulted in an idea being implemented which is projected to save the company over $100,000.

You can find out more about the 2013 Innovation Award winners here. 

Managing for Success: Best Practices in Open Innovation – In Conversation with guests Forrester and Yale

newsflashJoin IdeaScale for a comprehensive exploration on how to best organize an open innovation community on Friday, January 24th, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Hosted by IdeaScale and featuring Chip Gliedman of Forrester Research and Yale University’s IT Innovation Alignment Team, this conversation explores innovation best practices in a broad view, but also in practice within an IdeaScale community.  In the discussion, the speakers will address questions like:

-Is innovation best when wide open and boundless or should such programs be more targeted?
-Who are the key players in an innovation program?
-What defines successful engagement within a community?
-What are some tactics for improving ideation engagement?
-And much, much more.

An Introduction to the Speakers:

Chip Gliedman is a vice president, principal analyst at Forrester Research and serves CIOs. His research focuses on IT investment strategies, justifying technology investments, IT portfolio management, business technology (BT) alignment, and IT satisfaction. Chip developed the Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) model and program to help clients quantify and communicate the financial value of technology investments and strategies.

Yale ITs The Innovation Alignment Team is composed of Lou Rinaldi, Bryan Kazdan, and Karen Polhemus. They are collectively charged with providing leadership, technical expertise, ambassadorship, and metrics reporting in the field of Yale IT innovation. This team is focused on leading innovative programs.

Register Today!

Innovation Awards Close This Friday

4644949351_8623acd99d_oIdeaScale announced the 2013 Open Innovation Awards in August and after several months, applications, questions, truly strange stories and stranger requests, the period for sharing is almost over. The Innovation Awards submission period ends this Friday at midnight and any applications received after that will not be reviewed.

The journey doesn’t end there. In fact, for IdeaScale the work has only just begun. We’re going to compare some truly compelling, but remarkably unique stories to find out who the leaders are in engagement, moderation, change, savings, and efficiency.  A reminder of what the calendar looks like in the coming month.

8 November: The Awards Submission Period Closes (and a truly cumbersome week of review awaits us as we review tons of applications).

15 November: The finalists are notified and begin the tedious process of waiting until the awards ceremony to know who the final winners are.

13 December: The winners are notified at the awards ceremony and arrangements are made for the winners to receive their spoils.

The point is: don’t miss your chance. Applications are due by Friday and entrants can potentially win a discounted 2014 IdeaScale license, the ability to fast track an IdeaScale 2014 feature, and the chance to win a trip to Hawaii. So tell your story with lots of detail and a few measurable results and we look forward to seeing you at the awards ceremony in December.

Any other last minute advice? We look forward to reading your submissions.

Open Innovation Awards: 3 Things We’re Looking For

gift-bannerThe deadline to submit Open Innovation Awards is almost upon us (November 8th) and we’re truly looking forward to reviewing some compelling stories and sharing some new best practices. But for those of you who aren’t sure what it is we’ll be looking at as we select the finalists, let me offer you some insight.

As they review a wealth of applications and different approaches to innovation, the judges will be looking for:

1. Innovative Thinking. Surprise, surprise. We want our innovators to be as unique as the solutions that we’re looking for. We want to be surprised and we believe some of the best innovators are going to be offering us unexpected new approaches to a relatively time-honored process.

2. Repeatable Processes. Just because it’s unique, doesn’t meant that it can’t be applied elsewhere. This simply means that the recipe for success has a step by step approach that you could share with someone else.

3. Measurable Data. This key aspect will help us see the value regardless of community, goals, or industry – this aspect will truly help us compare and learn more from the past two years of IdeaScale implementations.

But enough about us. Be sure to submit your open innovation award application today.

What do you want to learn from the Innovation Awards? What else should we be looking for?

4 Tips for Submitting Innovation Awards Content: Deadline One Month Away

innovationawardThe deadline for entering the IdeaScale Innovation Awards is now just one month away with all entries from IdeaScale users due by November 8th, 2013. We’ve been receiving some truly interesting stories from some great users, but for those of you who have yet to full out an entry form, we’ve got a few tips for you as you go through the application process.

1. Share Your Process. Think of the application as a recipe that you’re sharing with a trusted friend. We need to know how you got to success each step of the way. We need to know when you added what and in what order so that we can not only verify, but learn from and share what makes for a good innovation lifecycle. It’s not just about the outcome, it’s about how you got there.

2. God Is In the Details. Remember that the most colorful and memorable applications are the ones that share the quirks and idiosyncracies of their innovation programs. We’ll remember the folks that created an operatic serenade played at the beginning and end of every shift to encourage people to submit ideas to an open innovation campaign, so we want to know about the beginning and end of every shift.

3. Measure Twice, Report Once. We love metrics, we love measurable results and research. Have you seen our infographics? This is something that you’re going to want to bring to your application. How much time did you save? How much more engagement did you see? What doubled? Tripled? What did you cut in half? And what were those numbers. Bringing this to your application is going to help us compare apples and oranges and our judges appreciate companies that love tracking as much as we do.

4. Tell a Story. The more we understand the narrative that brought the whole thing together, the more we’ll be able to understand the profound impact that it’s had on a larger organization that’s probably very different from our own. Leading us from the “once upon a time” to the “happily ever after” is a journey we hope you enjoy writing as much as we enjoy taking it with you.

Enough advice. Share your story with us today.

What are some other application tips? What do you think of the Innovation Awards applications?