Tag Archives: IdeaScale

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 to Buy an Open Innovation Platform

cirtixAre you considering utilizing an open innovation platform within your organization? Are you planning to build that platform yourself?

Well, you might want to reconsider whether the decision to build your platform is the best one for you. A recent IdeaScale case study focused on Citrix, a multinational software company, which has had a company mandate in place since 2001 to gather internal and external new ideas.

After outgrowing the previous model of feedback via email, Citrix decided it made the most sense to implement an open innovation platform. Like many other organizations, Citrix had it in mind to build and use their own platform. It makes sense, right? They’re already a software company, and they surely have all of the skills needed in order to create something of that nature.

However, Citrix quickly realized that their company-built platform was not as feasible as they imagined; most notably, the costs of maintaining the system were much higher than anticipated. But Citrix was in luck, because they found IdeaScale and never looked back.

In addition to the cost-considerations, there are five other big reasons that it might make more sense to buy—rather than build—your open innovation platform:

1. Less time to market implementation.
2. IdeaScale provides the experts for troubleshooting and maintenance.
3. Greater agility to customize, and less time to do so.
4. Increased ability to scale up or down as needed.
5. Higher probability of polished and aesthetic end product.

What more do you need to convince you? You can read more about Citrix and their experience with IdeaScale in this recent case study.

Citizen City Planning

citizen city planningHave you ever had an idea that would make the city you live in better? Chances are you have. Did you have the opportunity to share your idea with the decision makers of your city, and feel like you were heard? Chances are you haven’t, which is kind of strange given that citizen city planning is one of the most effective, useful, advantageous options for city planning.

In an IdeaScale study, three particular advantages to crowdsourced planning were surfaced: quicker changes, less risky changes, and appreciated improvements.

In December, we looked more in depth at a government agency that exemplified the two latter advantages. The Fairfax County Parks Authority recently entered a multiple-stage campaign to acquire ideas, evaluate, and enact improvements to the parks. This campaign will allow for the Parks Authority to be sure that changes are appreciated; after all, if the changes were suggested by citizens, those citizens are likely to appreciate them! Further, if citizens have the opportunity to examine the ideas put forth by the Parks Authority itself, those citizens are more prepared for the potential outcomes and are able to provide input along the way.

While the Fairfax County Parks Authority is moving slowly and steadily through the process, there are definitely instances where the “quicker changes” advantage applies. For example, the planning initiative in Huntsville, Alabama served to affirm some changes which were already in the pipeline, and could be accelerated as a result of confirmation from the population that the ideas were on the right track.

The big question is, seeing evidence of these positive outcomes, why would governments NOT crowdsource with their citizens to make community improvements?

To read more about the benefits of citizen city planning, including specific city examples, download Citizen City Planning: Collaborating with Citizens for a Better City.

IdeaScale and the NYPD

nypdIn early April, IdeaScale added another organization to its storied ranks: the New York Police Department.

In an article in The New York Times, the NYPD shared their plans to start a pilot program of IdeaScale as an avenue of citizens sharing concerns. The plan is to implement the program in a few neighborhoods in the 109th Precinct in Queens, using the platform specifically for reporting on quality of life issues, at least at the beginning.

The NYPD has successfully built campaigns aimed at connecting with the citizens of New York, specifically via social media. IdeaScale enhances the possibilities further, because it is highly interactive and dynamic. Not only can citizens recommend quality of life improvements around their neighborhoods, they will also be able to vote and collaborate with their neighbors, working together with police as well to present ideas innovate.

Further, it provides folks the opportunity to participate in an easy, low-impact way: they can contribute without having to leave home, which ultimately means they will be more likely to participate.

Deputy Inspector Thomas Conforti of the NYPD, in response to concerns that IdeaScale may just be used to reinforce police priorities, said that was not the intention. The NYPD plans to utilize the platform not only responsively, but also by presenting questions about specific topics for feedback from the population.

The introduction of IdeaScale to these communities began on April 8. We look forward to observing how the NYPD’s use of IdeaScale will grow and develop, as well as how they will choose to moderate and interact with the citizens who utilize the platform.

What do you think about the NYPD’s use of IdeaScale?

How Mageneti Marelli Used Open Innovation to Find the Competitive Edge

magneti marelliWhat can happen when you invite open, global innovation into your organization? International company Magneti Marelli found out when they partnered with Open Knowledge to create their Laptime Club.

Magneti Marelli was founded in Italy in 1919. It is committed to the design and production of hi-tech systems and components for the automotive industry.  As an organization, the group’s presence stretches across 19 countries, and is a supplier for the most important car makers in Europe, North and South America, and Asia.

Structured to be a community for motorsport engineers and experts, but also for technology and electronics enthusiasts, the Laptime Club was designed specifically to stimulate creativity and innovation in racing. It was open to the entire global community, and 85% of the ideas that Magneti Marelli ended up receiving were from sources external to their company.

As a result of the group’s large-scale invitation, they received nearly 100 ideas across 6 months of innovation. From these, twenty ideas rose to the surface as idea finalists, and then were further winnowed to two winning ideas to be considered for development.

Two of the most powerful strategies that Magneti Marelli used during the innovation period were their social media outreach and their regular innovation team meetings. The group used the entire digital toolkit in order to promote the innovation community, including blogging, email announcements, and campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook and Google. This allowed them to do the absolute most digital promotion possible. Magneti Marelli also utilized regular innovation team meetings, gathering once a month to look at and respond to new ideas, including reaching out to idea authors for more details about their ideas. Imagine how encouraging it would be as an idea author to not have to wait until the end of the six-month to hear anything about your idea. It likely made idea authors more apt to want to contribute in the future, even if their first ideas were not implemented.

Read more about Magneti Marelli and the Laptime Club in this recent case study.

Help NASA Save the World from Asteroids

nasaOne of the many awesome things to come out of South by Southwest a couple of weeks ago was NASA’s release of a new app, Asteroid Data Tracker, which allows the average citizen to crowdsource the presence of asteroids. Well, the average citizen with a telescope and the asteroid tracker desktop software.

The app and software were created during a crowdsourced competition produced by NASA and asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, the goal of which was to surface a better asteroid tracking algorithm. With this new software, users will be able to take images from their telescopes and use the algorithm to determine whether or not the bodies present in those images are asteroids.

According to NASA, this new algorithm is able to identify asteroids with a 15 percent higher rate than previous algorithms. The reported asteroids that are surfaced by common folks are useful for both NASA and Planetary Resources. NASA tries to keep an eye on all near-earth asteroids, hopefully to avoid any Armageddon-type situations, as well as considering candidates for potential asteroid missions. Their partner, Planetary Resources, would be interested in that as well, since it’s much easier to mine an asteroid if you can get to it.

Click here for more information about Asteroid Data Tracker, and to download.

What other kind of agencies might benefit from engaging in crowdsourcing of this nature?

What’s an Employee’s Role in Innovation?

employee role in innovationLet’s say you are an employer who is looking to encourage innovation of ideas among your employees. What would you imagine would be the result of rejecting some employee ideas?

Well, probably not what you might think. Recent research has shown that when an employee’s idea is rejected by their organization, it actually can drive innovation by motivating them to come back with new ideas.

Although this outcome is the result of a delicate balance; after all, nobody is going to be interested in trying something again at which they’ve not been successful if they feel ridiculed or belittled for trying the first time. Perhaps the most important step is an overarching one: organizations should cultivate a climate that is inviting, safe, and positive for employee innovators. It’s important for employees to know that the result of their idea has no impact on their job, furthering the feeling of a safe environment. For more tactics on crafting an environment of innovation, read our recent white paper on the importance of employee innovation.

Once the right mood has been set for innovation, it will be much easier to encourage employees to participate in the sharing of ideas, even if their initial suggestions are not enacted. The research showed that those whose ideas were rejected tended to persist in an effort to determine the causes of their rejection. This is another place where the organization can step in and assist—examining with employees ideas which were successful, and how those employees might attain that level with their own ideas in the future. Helping to provide the proper support and motivation can make all the difference.

Along these lines, it’s important for organizations to think more about how they will reject ideas. It is essential to respond to ALL ideas. Nobody likes to live in that limbo of not knowing, so even if ideas are not pushed forward, it is best practice to inform everyone of the status of their ideas. It is also imperative to celebrate the effort that employees have made, even if their ideas are not enacted; employees are far more likely to try again if they feel that their first attempts are appreciated. For more tips on how to respond to ideas, watch our Creating a Culture of Innovation webinar.

What are other strategies you can think of to encourage your employees to continue innovating, even if their ideas are not initially accepted for enactment?

Feature: AQHA Community

aqhaEveryone loves horses, especially the American Quarter Horse Association. The Association, or AQHA, is the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization. Located in Amarillo, Texas, AQHA operates for the benefit of members around the world. Members enjoy, among other things: America’s Horse Magazine, participation in competitions, horseback riding programs, corporate partner savings, and record keeping of horses.

Members have always been able to submit ideas for improvement at the organization’s website.  But about six months ago, AQHA upgraded their idea submissions by opening an IdeaScale community. This has been the first opportunity for the crowdsourcing and improvement of ideas.

Submitted ideas are categorized into three campaigns: AQHA Membership, Story Ideas (ideas for stories to be included in AQHA publications), and Horse Showing.

One of the most impactful decisions that AQHA has made with relation to their community is to have active moderation. (The decision about level of participation for moderators is one that each community should consider based on their particular needs; while it works for AQHA, it may not be the best choice for all organizations.)

AQHA administrators categorize ideas in the three campaigns further: recent, popular, active, in review, in progress, completed, requires rule change proposal form, and ended. Many of these designations have a colored tab in the upper right corner of the idea to indicate their status at a glance. AQHA moderators also address “ideas” that are more appropriately labeled “questions,” route members to information about ideas they have submitted that are already AQHA features, inform submitters if a rule change proposal form is needed for a particular idea, and respond to ideas with status updates including when ideas are going to be discussed at the annual AQHA Convention.

This moderator participation has served the community well, allowing for streamlined communication between community members and administrators, while also emphasizing communication among community members. For example, the community can focus its time and energy on other ideas if the implementation of one idea is as easy as a rule change proposal form. On the other hand, if an idea is going to be discussed at the annual Convention, it allows for community members to provide their input and elaborations prior to that point.

Which moderation style works best for you and your community?

Click here to explore the AQHA community, or to submit your own ideas if you are an AQHA member.

Best 2015 SXSW Sessions

sxswThis Friday begins SXSW 2015 in Austin. The annual festival—which includes a focus on music, film, and interactive technologies—was designed as an opportunity for creative people and the companies they work with to meet and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today, and more and more, SXSW Interactive sessions specifically highlight innovation and crowdsourcing.

As these are two of IdeaScale’s favorite things, here are five suggestions for sessions to check out if you are attending SXSW:

1. City 2.0: Why Local Government Bets on Civic Innovation
This session explores the usefulness of civic innovation (a.k.a. utilizing citizen ideas to tackle real urban problems). We love this idea, as we have many local governments doing exactly this with our platform!

2. Innovation Through Impact Filmmaking
Exploring the connection between filmmaking and the growing ability for international communities to be connected to causes that drive impact, this session features Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela.

3. NASA Prizes: Dream It, Make It, Win It
Representatives of the NASA Prizes and Challenges Program will share how some of their best ideas come from “citizen inventors” and how you can get involved, get innovating, and win prizes!

4. Innovating Diversity and Inclusion in Tech
Presented by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, this session explores and expands on how innovation is served by emphasizing diversity and inclusion in tech fields.

5. Innovation Around the World
This is not one particular session, but rather a noticeable trend during the festival. From Turkey to L.A., from Sweden to Ecuador, if you want to hear about how a certain country or global area is innovating, you can find it here.

Of course, in addition to these great sessions, you won’t want to miss our session on the Global Innovation Competition and best practices for hosting global competitions on Tuesday, March 17 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Click here for more information about that session.

Best Innovation Hour

innovationhourInnovation can happen at any time of day. At any moment, inspiration may strike.

We at IdeaScale have found that the greatest number of new ideas are submitted around 11 a.m. PST, a.k.a. the Innovation Hour. In considering why this might be the best hour for innovation, we surfaced a few possibilities.

To begin with, many IdeaScale users operate in the Pacific Time zone because Silicon Valley is in the Pacific Time zone and as a whole, companies in Silicon Valley make a point of embracing and fostering open innovation; thus, folks working for those companies who would be engaged in innovating are able and supported to participate in that way during their work hours, and we are more likely to see them sharing new ideas during Innovation Hour.

Beyond that, for both Pacific and Eastern Time zones—the latter for which the local time would be 2 p.m. during Innovation Hour—it is a common time to break up the bigger tasks of a work day with smaller, less strenuous tasks. Like, for example, engaging in an innovation community. For West Coast people, 11 a.m. is generally about when the opening responsibilities of a day are taken care of, and a moment can be taken to contribute a new idea that has been ruminating. For East Coast people, 2 p.m. is an hour or two after lunch time, and allows for a great break from that after-lunch project. Knowing that these are great break times for both West and East Coasters, we can understand why there would be greater influx of ideas during those break times.

Along with that idea of a natural break in the work day, there is the fact that the best ideas don’t happen at work. Research shows that only 3% of ideas occur to people during work hours; the other 97% arise during what might be considered “down” times for your brain: during showers, while working out, on vacation, or doing nothing. These breaks not only provide mini moments of brain down times to get some ideas percolating, but also allow a perfect chance to upload an idea surfaced during a previous down time.

Why do you think 11 a.m. PST is the Innovation Hour? What do you find to be your best time for new ideas?