Posts Tagged ‘Open Innovation’

Its mid March and after a long winter, I am now trying to decide what to do next with Ideavibes. To answer this question, I thought the obvious first step was to reach out to the crowd for their input.

Three years ago, I launched Ideavibes with the input of a few friends and advisors and built a rather unique crowdsourcing platform that enables users to embed the tool using an iframe on their own website. Great for cities, governments and brands to make engagement happen on their own websites instead of sending them off to other sites.

We have enabled cities and other levels of governments as well as public organizations to utilize crowdsourcing to engage citizens to solve problems and help make change happen in communities around the world. We have also helped brands implement crowdsourcing or open innovation initiatives to build new products, improve existing ones, or develop service offerings that were market influenced from the start. You can read about some of these initiatives on blog.ideavibes.com .

Great stuff. But our inability to build a sustainable business has alluded us.

I am proud of what we have been able to do with the $50,000 I was able to pull together from friends and family, but a few factors have led us to the spot we are now in. These include:
– lack of a technical co-founder meaning a great deal of money was spent on outsourced development
– timing – we were very early into the space and this required a great deal of effort to educate prospective customers
– funding – yes we wasted money on things that, in hindsight, didn’t contribute to what we should have been focused on

In addition to our original platform, we also built the start of a public crowdsourcing space that would become an open platform for anyone to run their own crowdsourcing campaigns. Its unfinished but something that could be great public.ideavibes.com

We have built up some great thought leadership on the topics of crowdsourcing and citizen engagement and are asked to speak on the topic at events and cities, etc. in NA and Europe.

So – if you have ideas on what our next move should be – let me know. The possibilities are endless.

Please contact Paul Dombowsky at paul@ideavibes.com or by phone at 1-613-878-1681 if you would like to start a conversation or pass on your ideas.


Read Full Post »

Who says libraries are dead.

Today we took down the crowdsourcing campaign we developed and ran for the Ottawa Public Library called Imagine. You can still visit the website, http://www.imagine-opl-bpo.ca and learn more about this initiative that was undertaken by leadership at the OPL to help the public provide input into the library of the future. A cross between an open innovation and a citizen engagement campaign, the response was overwhelming:

imagine1_smIn the month that the campaign was running, we had:

  • Over 12,000 unique visitors to the website
  • Over 1000 ideas
  • Over 900 comments
  • Over 20,000 total votes cast

Yes – that is a daunting number of ideas – but some key themes developed and the folks at the Library are looking at the conversation that they started to understand priorities and next steps to improve the usability and place that the Library of the future has in the City of Ottawa.

The team at the Library had to work very hard to get approval to do a campaign like this and I applaud their ability to see the potential for both engagement but also innovation and for the commitment to be a little uncomfortable with what people might say. I am happy to report that the fully moderated campaign did not suffer from people trying to hijack the process.

Note that a parallel campaign was also run for City of Ottawa employees so they could focus on internal ideas and comments. This campaign will continue on for the short term as the campaign is generating terrific conversations that will help the Library both operationally and in its service delivery to the citizens of Ottawa.

Stay tuned for a detailed case study.

Read Full Post »

As many of us know – and as Tom Hulme pointed out in the video below – crowdsourcing isn’t new. Hulme, Design Director at IDEO in London, spoke about crowdsourcing at the Brisbane Festival of Ideas 2011. Right off the bat, Hulme confesses that he hates the term crowdsourcing because he feels that it’s become too transactional – taking from others without giving back.

Hulme talks about some historical examples of crowdsourcing and various the reasons and ways to offer incentives to people in exchange for their ideas. There’ a wealth of information in this video. Hulme provides a ton of real-life examples to paint a picture of the endless opportunities offered by crowdsourcing and open innovation.

Tom Hulme on Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing from IDEO on Vimeo.

Read Full Post »

Coming up with ideas for new products can be incredibly difficult. Often times, people will turn to their crowd to solicit new ideas or find out news ways to improve existing products. The product development or management process has become increasingly social, as companies have started to find new ways to connect with their crowds. One of the easiest, and most popular ways to connect with your crowd is through social media. Crowdsourcing can be part of an open innovation or social product management strategy by reaching out to the crowd at various stages in the product development or management process.

What is social product management (SPM)?

SPM is the opening up of innovation to internal and external input for the development of products in various stages of the product management or development lifecycle. Crowdsourcing can be used to gather insight into product features and functionality, as well as product testing and customer service.

Benefits of social product management

Taking a social approach to the requirements and prioritization stages of product management put businesses in a position to make better decisions. Since your customers are the ones using your products, why not get their input on what they like, don’t like or would like to see in the future? You can also turn to your crowd during the development process to test products before they make their way to market. This way, you are able to give them what they want the first time around. The feedback you can gather from your crowd throughout the product management process is invaluable. Making better decisions about the products you make will help your company save money in the long run, and can contribute to increased sales, consumer loyalty and repeat customers.

Your company can also benefit from the knowledge your crowd has about your products on the customer service front. By creating a space where customers can help each other out and answer questions, your company’s customer service department can work with the crowd to ensure questions receive a timely response.

Utilizing the Crowd

In a webinar I recently was part of, I referenced a Forrester study that reports that 71% of people claim they trust the opinions of family, friends and colleagues as a source of information on products and services – aka their crowd. Think about it: when you want to try a new restaurant, hairstylist, switch consumer brands and other similar things, you usually ask those around you what they use, who they go to and why they keep going back or purchasing products/services from the people they do. Using open innovation to develop new products shines a light on the crowd, as if they are included in the process.

Read Full Post »