Tag Archives: IdeaScale

ReviewScale: How to Build a Business Case for Crowdsourced Ideas Using Decision Matrix Software

image curtesy of kenny louie via flickr

image curtesy of kenny louie via flickr

June 10th, 2014 10 am-10:45am PST

How to utilize decision matrix software to ensure that your innovation management program generates ROI.

How do innovation teams ensure that the next change that they have slated for implementation yields a business-impacting ROI? In this webinar, Rob Hoehn will discuss businesses that have both failed and succeeded in planning for the next stage of implementation, while also introducing new tools that ensure ROI.


Webinar Agenda:
– What are the challenges facing innovation management?
– Factors to consider when implementing change
– A demonstration of ReviewScale technology
– Live Q&A

Join our complimentary webinar to learn how other businesses plan for success and utilize ReviewScale to meet their bottom line.  Register today.

Reducing Administrative Distractions with the US Navy

photo curtesy of amit sharma via flickr

photo curtesy of amit sharma via flickr

With Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Greenert at the wheel, the United States Navy functions under the motto, “War fighting first.” The duty of these men and women lies in naval warfare. To better allow his sailors to dedicate themselves fully to this endeavor, the CNO tasked Rear Adm. Herman Shelanski and a select group of high ranking personnel with improving and streamlining the day-to-day operations of the Navy.

At the center of their strategy lies RAD (Reducing Administrative Distractions), an IdeaScale platform open to anyone with a Navy issued email. The community is private, but open to all levels of Navy personnel- from junior sailors, to Navy civilians, reserve sailors, and even commanding officers. The Navy  wanted this to be an opportunity for sailors of all designations to join the conversation. IdeaScale provided the opportunity for lower ranking sailors to make suggestions directly to decision makers, in a way where their idea doesn’t have to slowly climb up through the ranks. Speaking to the Federal Drive Show Blog, Rear Adm. Shelanski explained, “a good Commanding Officer does a lot of walking around, and he talks to a lot of the junior sailors.” He continued, “if you set the climate right,” this method can be one of the most effective ways to find out what happens on the ship, what doesn’t work, and how to make the system more efficient.

In RAD, authorized community members post their ideas, suggestions, and complaints under a variety of topics including: Navy Reserves, IT/Website, and training. Sailors may post anything they want under a more general category, but moderators have the option to take down off topic posts. A few tactics were utilized to improve participation. RAD was set up in waves, so that sailors could see the ideas of their peers being taken to heart, and implemented or given a reason why they could not be implemented at the time. Once authorized, community members have the choice of using their actual name and title as their username, a pseudonym, or post and comment anonymously. In this way, even lower ranking sailors have the opportunity to voice their concerns and suggestions without fear of repercussions.

The focus of the campaign was to find the inefficiencies of day-to-day operations, and streamline or “digitize” them, saving time for all levels of sailors. One problem RAD administrators found involved naval permissions, called designation letters. At the time of the campaign, each sailor required a unique designation letter for each permission, for example, parking their vehicle on base. Each designation letter must be issued by the Commanding Officer, totaling potentially thousands of individual letters. Thanks to RAD, a system is being implemented where sailors no longer need to hold on to these letters, and the CO can authorize and maintain certain permissions in bulk.

So far, RAD has gathered over 1,300 idea suggestions. Some they found were already in the works, others they were able to start on swiftly, but a lot of the ideas are worthwhile, but large scale, and will take time to implement.

Building Something Bigger: Crowdfunding Solar Power

image credit martin jakobsen via flickr

image credit martin jakobsen via flickr

Crowdfunding campaigns cover a variety of causes: from the quickey multitool, a pocket device that’ll tackle everyday tasks, to saving a classic drive-in theater. There’s a crowdfunding project for everything, and at least one for everyone to support. What these campaigns have in common, is that they envision an innovative product, cause, or service and then find the backers that would love and be proud to support. We are all a part of the Crowd, that’s what makes crowdfunding so powerful. Financing is no longer in the hands of wealthy backers. With backing from a large crowd, even if the individual investments are modest, a project can acquire the startup funding it wouldn’t be able to achieve through other streams. When enough people tune in, and pitch in what funds  they can, the goal can be something huge- like Solar Power.

Blue & Green Tomorrow cites clean energy installations making up 44% of all new electricity generation installations over the course of 2013, compared with investments in renewable energy installations dropping by 14% in the same period. The public is interested, and ready to take advantage of the benefits of solar power, but the funding is falling behind. Crowdfunding has the ability to directly connect those interested in furthering the scope of this renewable resource with those making it a reality. Interested investors can fund individual projects in solar power like solar generators by inergy or the Solartab. To bring solar power to an entire city, the crowd must pull together in a large scaled operation of information and funding.

The city of Portland, Oregon’s Burueau of Planning and Sustainability has introduced one such campaign with ‘Solar Forward.’ Their goal is, “to offer community members a way to engage in the development of new, clean, local renewable energy systems on public buildings like community centers, schools and libraries.” Their site explains that most private dwellings do not make ideal locations for solar panels to be installed. Those wanting to support solar power in Portland can contribute to Solar Forward, so that the city can establish it’s solar network in the most effective configuration. In the long run, Solar Forward hopes to pay back their funders for the portion of the energy savings that their donation produced.

A US startup called Mosaic pairs interested investors with vouched for projects. Founded by Dan Rosen and Billy Parish, Mosaic is a “Kickstarter for solar.” More than $7 million have been raised through the web platform so far. Last month Mosaic opened their platform beyond funding commercial projects, to funding private home projects. With the ‘Mosaic Home Solar Loan‘ program launched in it’s home city of Oakland, California, Mosaic has joined RGS Engery in installing solar to private residences with crowdfunded money. The program treats the installation costs as a loan, for homeowners to pay back with small installments over 20 years.

The goal of crowdfunding isn’t just to raise funds, but to raise a cause. A good campaign compels the crowd to help by speaking up, spreading the word, AND participating in startup financing. Right now, crowdfunding is allowing for the advancement of solar power, globally. The success these campaigns have already seen should be a testament to the effect of support from the Crowd.

Getting Over the Popularity Contest


image credit to marco digitalstream via flickr

image credit to marco digitalstream via flickr

Leveraging crowd wisdom works on the premise that individuals or organizations can benefit from a collective group of knowledge. One way to measure the crowds’ opinion is to present a subject or idea and invite the crowd to vote on it. If it’s popular, it rises to the top and could be considered a mandate from the crowd to follow-through on the suggestion. However, companies sometimes forget that voting is just one mechanism and not necessarily the whole truth that a crowd has to offer. Measuring ideas against business objectives, for example, or mining qualitative responses for themes or meaning can provide an even greater range of insight. Let’s consider a few popular ideas that don’t always equate to quality.

-The Macarena. In 1994, there was no school dance that escaped the Macarena. The song by Los del Río was an international hit in 1995, 1996, and 1997 and appears at number 7 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100. It also ranks at No. 1 on Billboard’s All Time Latin Songs. And despite the catchy hook and despite its insistent re-play, no one is arguing that the Macarena was a musical breakthrough or something that will remain a long-remembered achievement.

-Teflon. Despite the fact that the non-stick convenience continues to hold widespread traction in the market, it has also been warned against year after year by health organizations like the Environmental Working Group and Cancer.org. Let’s also talk about how it now stands in as a term for candidates who maintain their popularity no matter how many bad things they come up against. Rob Ford is a current popular example – “The Teflon Mayor.”

-The Twilight Saga. Let’s make no mistake – this film is at the height of “popular” which has yielded nearly $1.5 billion in ticket sales. However, in spite of its vast commercial success, both the substance and the literary craft of the novel have been criticized . No matter how long the story remains a phenomenon, it will never be regarded as a ranking piece of literature. Decision making (particularly business decision making) is an ongoing, rich, complex process that requires a lot of inputs (including an idea’s popularity). IdeaScale wants to ensure that successful innovators have more tactics to evaluate crowd information.

Join us for a complimentary webinar featuring IdeaScale’s Suzan Briganti, SVP of Strategy, as she introduces innovation analysis and its methods. Register today.

Harnessing the Ideas of Innovation

John Paul Farmer (Sr Advisor to the US Chief Technology Advisor) and Nicole Sunstrum (Dir of Social Media at the University of Michegan)

John Paul Farmer (Sr Advisor to the US Chief Technology Advisor) and Nicole Sunstrum (Dir of Social Media at the University of Michegan)

We’re either three weeks post SXSW Interactive, or 49 weeks in preparation- depending on how you like to look at it. At IdeaScale, we’re still buzzing with the excitement over the 2014 event we were lucky enough to take part in. Our panelists spoke about how their crowdsourced campaigns harnessed the potential of the crowds in their respective fields – government and university.

We heard from Nikki Sunstrum, the Director of Social Media for the University of Michigan, on shaping the stream of ideas from a crowdsourced campaign into their fullest potential. John Paul Farmer, Sr Advisor to the US Chief Technology Advisor, spoke about getting the public involved in government innovation by opening up the ideation cycle through crowdsourcing. Both are inspired by the potential laying dormant in their audiences, and eagerly encourage tapping into that potential- in any industry.

If you weren’t able to make it out to Texas, you can catch up with our video How Government Harnesses Ideas with Crowdsourcing. Learn how these two representatives of different industries led crowdsourcing campaigns into successful change with IdeaScale.

How to Leverage Collective Wisdom: Getting Beyond the Top-Voted Idea

photo by LWVC via flickr

photo by LWVC via flickr

IdeaScale’s advisory services team uses proprietary techniques in order to mine collective crowd wisdom to develop pipelines of winning innovations. This method has produced highly successful concepts, insights and new products. In this engaging webinar, IdeaScale presents the benefits of going beyond a “vote and stack” approach to crowdsourcing.

The most successful innovators do more than just scrub communities for popular ideas, they develop new insights and concepts based on the collective crowd wisdom.

Hosted by IdeaScale and featuring Suzan Briganti, SVP of Strategy, this complimentary webinar will include:

-an introduction to innovation analysis,
-insight & concept development overviews
-methods of insight validation

In addition, attendees will be invited to participate in a live question and answer session at the end of the presentation.

Join us and register for this complimentary webinar today.

5 Apps to Maximize Your Time While Working on the Go

Mobile business

Today we have a guest post by Jennifer Robinson. As a stay at home mom, entrepreneur, and PR consultant, Jennifer knows how to make the most of a busy schedule.

It’s not enough to manage, lead and inspire. Today’s entrepreneurs must be savvy accountants, networking gurus, and smooth salesmen. Well-run businesses rely on a jack-of-all-trades approach to operations. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that more than half a million new businesses open each month. Competing with the growing market of entrepreneurs leaves no room for complacency. It’s important to stay on top of everything, even once you’re established. The latest apps adapt to your dynamic schedule so you can take on the world from your smartphone.

Note to Self

Big ideas seldom arise from stale environments. Those few moments when pen and paper are in-hand do nothing for the creative spirit. On-the-go innovators find inspiration through sights and sounds of their ever-changing surroundings. Stop letting great ideas fall through the cracks. With Evernote, users can store, organize, and share their texts, photos, and voice notes so nothing is ever forgotten. Better yet, the app syncs with your devices so you can find important information from your tablet, desktop and smartphone.

Team Work

Remember the days of solo entrepreneurship? Self-accountability took a certain amount of tenacity, organization, and determination. Now that you’ve built a powerhouse of like-minded colleagues, switch gears to a leadership state of mind. Hold your team to the same standards and encourage a culture of accountability. With the Asana app, users can manage tasks, organize emails, and track team collaboration. Save time spent reading emails, attending meetings and analyzing status reports. By staying connected with your team, you’ll be up-to-date with deadlines, completed tasks, and project progress.

Social Butterfly

Of all the day-to-day operations you oversee, social media is likely the most time consuming of them all. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn—the list goes on and on. Managing your business’ social life is a full-time job. Luckily, Hootsuite provides a one-stop shop for social account management. It schedules messages, monitors conversations and tracks analytics. Your audience expects to hear from you daily. Keep in touch each day without spending hours socializing online. Schedule advanced posts in a single sitting so you can set it and move on with your business.

Get Paid

For creatives, money matters rank low on the priority scale. Being an innovator is about bringing ideas to life, not bookkeeping. At the end of the day, getting paid is what keeps your dream alive and growing. Keeping up with your financials doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience. With Intuit, you can accept payments and track invoices on the go. This app syncs with QuickBooks to do the bookkeeping for you, taking the hassle out of billing and collections.

Stay Connected

Gain traction by nurturing both personal and professional network connections. A stack of business cards tossed on your desk won’t do much for relationship building. Keep your connections in the palm of your hand with CardMunch by LinkedIn. From the app, you can snap a picture of a business card and the information is converted to a contact on your smartphone. You’ll also have access to contacts from your LinkedIn profile to help grow your professional network.

IdeaScale Is Always Evolving, The Crowd is Always Collaborating

5162224869_52c70e9861_oWhich is why our idea management solution looks a lot different today than it did even a year ago. We’re looking to find new ways to get organizations to talk with their networks and to make real change a collaborative, ongoing process.

We believe that it’s not just ideation that is a shared responsibility and process, but idea vetting, refinement, and resource allocation, as well. Over the course of the past year, IdeaScale has developed numerous new features that support collaboration on the back end of innovation, as well.

It seems logical to assume that if removing limits from ideation can help present new ideas or findings, then broadening the scope of who is involved in the refinement process can also help introduce new solutions for implementation or new practices for introducing change into an organization.

IdeaScale’s product roadmap is driven by numerous inputs, but one of the principles we are always trying to align to is “making crowd-collaboration easy at every stage of innovation.” And that’s part of what has driven our focus over the course of the past year and introduced a great deal of new functionality into the IdeaScale platform.

If you’d like to see some of these new features at work, then join IdeaScale’s complimentary webinar “It’s Raining Features! A Tour of IdeaScale’s Latest Functionality” on Wednesday, March 19th at 10 a.m. PDT. Register today.

How to Make the Most of Your Trip to SXSW

sxsw1We know you’ll be working hard at SXSW, and your dance card is already filling up. You’re a marketing maven, a conquistador of connections, and a member of the innovation intelegencia, but please, leave some time in your schedule to stray from the beaten path. You never know when the best ideas will come to you. In the spirit of always keeping an eye out for innovation and opportunity, we’ve found some events you might have missed- they might be the spark that ignites your best idea yet.

1. Grab a partner and become the hero of your office by winning the SXSW Ping Pong Tournament. Sign up now, the tournament starts on Friday the 7th!

2. In, ‘Reddit, You’re Doing it Wrong,’ Rohit Thawani and Garrett Tillman will teach you how to use Reddit’s crowd and content to improve your business. Don’t let Reddit let you down. These two marketing and strategy experts will show you how to tackle Reddit and come out on top.

3. SXSW keeping you up all night? Check in at the Late Night Saloon to keep the conversation and connections flowing.

4. Filmmaker’s Pre-Fest Pitches let’s filmmakers promote their films directly to their target audience. Hear first hand why you should check out some upcoming films, and take notes on how passionate creators market their work.

5. Attend any part of the SXSW: Create event and you will see into the future. From smart-phone controlled nancopters to laser engraving and e-textiles, these innovators are changing the technological landscape one idea at a time.

IdeaScale will be at SXSW March 7th-11th. RSVP to meet up with us!

5 Innovation Events at SXSW That You Really Shouldn’t Miss

sxsw2IdeaScale is packing up, and heading to SXSW! We hope you are as excited as we are to get together and talk innovation. Of course you’ll come to see our event:  Democracy Took Over My Government, Now What?, but what else should you check out this year at SXSW? We’ve compiled a list of the 5 Innovation Events that we’re most excited about. Tell us in the comments what you’ll be filling your SXSW visit with.

1.  Check out James McQuivey in “Digital Disruption, Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation.”  McQuivey will be reading excerpts from his book Digital Disruption, and digging into what the state of our digital world means for your business’s success.

2. “OMMA: Should Brands Be Part of the Real-Time Convo?” will explore recent shifts in brand marketing. How quickly is Brand Marketing evolving ? Does the personification of a brand through a carefully customized marketing campaign build a stronger following?

3. Outdated technology has kept internet access limited to easy to control environments like US office buildings. Learn how this team of innovators turned desktop, office-ware into BRCK- internet access for the rest of the world.

4. In “The Power of Public Thinking,” author Clive Thompson will show you how our daily communications shape our thought process. He’ll explain how “public thinking” through tweets, Instagram comments, and all the rest actually help us solve the big problems.

5. You can streamline your office, and improve your product, but your employees are your most valuable asset. John Hagel will talk about applying design thinking and methodologies to developing your team. Training isn’t only for new employees, but what would a perpetual educationally nurturing office look like? How can you capitalize on the experience of those inside and outside of your office to give your staff the best tools in their development?

We’re going to be at SXSW March 7th through 11th, and we’d love to see you!
RSVP to meet up with IdeaScale there.