2,800 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Editor's Note: The following guest post comes to us from Jessica Day. She is the Communications Director at IdeaScale, an open innovation company which runs the SAVE Awards, an initiative started in 2009 by the Obama administration. Day writes in to discuss some of the successes that have come from the program and offers suggestions for companies and organizations that are considering turning to crowdsourcing for their idea generation.
The SAVE Award is a program that debuted in September 2009. It was an initiative launched by President Obama that sought ideas from federal employees about how to make the government not only more effective, but also more efficient when it came to spending (hence its name: “Securing Americans Value and Efficiency”).
Every year, the President puts out an open call out to all federal employees inviting them to publically submit their money-saving ideas online using IdeaScale technology. This call is promoted by various branches, departments and organizations within the government encouraging employees to share whatever thoughts they have on the subject. The ideas are submitted, users vote the ideas up and down and the best ideas usually bubble up to the top. The Office of Management and Budget then narrows down the best ideas to a “final four” which can be viewed and voted on by the American public. The winner is granted the honor of presenting his or her idea to the President in Washington.
The end of July marked the end of the period for idea submissions for this year and we won’t know who the new winner is until September. But after four years of working to create a more efficient government with the help of the crowd, it seems that a lot could be said about the value of crowdsourcing when it comes to the government.
And the ideas have come from all over the government. The winners alone have represented the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Bureau of Prisons, and NASA.
Of course, we have to look at some of those savings as rather belated updates and upgrades to services that are simply helping America to keep pace, not to innovate: bringing reports online or working to reduce the amount of paper waste is certainly laudable, but not a slingshot forward, either. I would like to think that as the government catches up with the basics, that they will also begin to allow for more elasticity of suggestions, innovation, maybe even revelation.
But how can the government (or other companies and organizations) encourage innovation and not just keeping pace. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look to the crowd for innovation.
Where will this year’s SAVE winner spring from? What will they suggest? And how much can it save? In any case, I’m looking forward to finding out.
- Jessica Day is a marketing and technology writer and editor for IdeaScale, a leading innovation software solution for idea management. She received her Masters in Writing from the University of Washington. Day also blogs about crowd-based innovation and idea management solutions at blog.ideascale.com.