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. 

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