Tag Archives: seattle

Spotlight on IdeaScale

It’s been a busy time for IdeaScale. We’ve launched BadgeFarm, we’ve been following up on the success of the Federal Mobility Strategy, launching the new initiative on Section 508, and loads of other behind-the-scenes stuff that you’ll have to look forward to in the coming weeks. But we’ve also been in-front-of-the-scenes as well and we just wanted to share some of the news.

Last month, Software Advice blog listed IdeaScale as one of their favorite customer service applications. Why? Because IdeaScale’s available for any mobile platform and not only helps assemble customer feedback, but also helps to prioritize it. It appeared in good company among other mobile feedback platforms including Tello and Gripe.

But IdeaScale wasn’t highlighted simply for its mobile and customer service capabilities, it was also highlighted in an interview addressing a new study by the University of Illinois which ranked the social media sophistication of various U.S. cities. While Chicago used to rank number 8, it now ranks at number 17 and in a discussion of that fall in rank, they talked about how that change is not so much because Chicago has fallen behind, but that other cities have caught up. They also talk about how some of the leading social media cities (among them Seattle) go beyond simply using Facebook and Twitter (and there are still some cities that haven’t done even that), which was praised for its use of the platform IdeaScale that allows users to submit and rate ideas for improving local government.

More than anything, however, these stories signal a sea change in industry trends. Customer feedback is now a mobile imperative and that feedback needs to be an integrated part of the user experience that doesn’t take the user away from the application that they are engaging in. Cities and governments need to catch up to their citizens – they need to be asking for their thoughts and suggestions at every turn: on Facebook and Twitter, in organized websites, and in crowdsourcing platforms like IdeaScale.

What other changes does this signal in the industry? What does this mean for the future of crowdsourcing and network intelligence?

The Crowdsourcing Hero: Helping the Helpless

I was highly intrigued by my discovery of HarassMap, an online crowdsourcing resource that allows women to anonymously report occurrences of sexual harassment simply by sending a text message (or calling or Twittering) from their phone. Those reports are then mapped and the victims of sexual harassment receive information on how to respond to or cope with their experiences. The hope is that by using the map to identify hot spots for sexual harassment, volunteers can then work with local business owners, residents, and authorities to minimize problems and better remake their at-risk communities safer for women.

The site is led by American, Rebecca Chiao who describes her reasons for starting HarassMap, “I came to Egypt in 2004 by chance and since then it’s been my home… I wanted to help start HarassMap to provide a link between us all – men, women, NGOs, government, private companies. None of us expect to change the situation immediately, but HarassMap can be a good addition to the important work that’s already been happening in the past five years.”

It’s a truly encouraging attitude and it’s similar to a couple of other crowdsourcing crime-fighting initiatives. In a case that has been unsolved since 1999, the FBI is now reaching out to the public to unlock the cryptography in two notes left on the body of Ricky McCormick. McCormick was 41 years old when he was discovered and the two pieces of paper have puzzled analysts for years. Now, the FBI has made the notes public, hoping that crowdsourcing will help them solve the case.

Here in Seattle, the Seattle Police Department uses their Twitter account on a regular basis and looks to their followers to help them in their latest initiative called “Get Your Car Back.” Stolen car descriptions are posted to the dedicated twitter feed detailing stolen cars’ make, model, color and registration number. If any Twitter follower recognizes the description, they are directed to call 911. With over 7,000 Twitter followers, it is possible that the Seattle PD may make their goal of reducing thefts by up to 20%.

Do you think that this citizen-engaging activity will help or hurt the traditional legal process? What other ways can crowdsourcing serve the victims of crime?