Crowdsourcing for idea generation

Can big institutions get better ideas by including more people? High-profile crowdsourced ideation projects in our communities include:

  • Harvard Catalyst ran a contest last year, inviting Harvard and external community members to come up with their own answers to the question “what do we not know about Type 1 Diabetes?” They got over 190 responses. A panel of experts culled the list down to a dozen top award-winning ideas, and seven new projects have been funded to investigate these questions. Top ideas came from faculty, students, staff, and a patient.
  • The White House developed the SAVE Award, a national contest for federal government employees to suggest ways to make government processes cheaper and easier. The 2009 contest drew 38,000 entries, while the 2010 contest drew 18,000 entries, plus 160,000 votes. Winning ideas include not throwing away bulk medication at the VA, online scheduling at Social Security offices, and ending the mailing of print copies of the Federal Register. Check out the huge range of submitted ideas.
  • UCSF is running Bright Ideas, a campus-wide suggestion box. The campus community can share and vote on ideas. Previously-implemented Bright Ideas included a system to share unused office furniture and supplies, and the installation of audio signals for the visually impaired at Parnassus crosswalks.

(Image by Faith Grober)

2 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing for idea generation

  1. A few other crowdsourcing-related sites:

    Fold It: Solve Puzzles for Science
    Foldit is a revolutionary new computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research.

    Open Ideo
    OpenIDEO is a global community that will draw on your optimism, inspiration, ideas and opinions to solve problems together for the collective social good.

    All Our Ideas
    All Our Ideas is a research project to develop a new form of social data collection that combines the best features of quantitative and qualitative methods. Using the power of the web, we are creating a data collection tool that has the scale, speed, and quantification of a survey while still allowing for new information to “bubble up” from respondents as happens in interviews, participant observation, and focus groups.

    And a recent post on crowdsourcing from the NY Times Fixes blog, which explores solutions to major social problems.

Comments are closed.