Asking for Problems, Asking for Solutions

IdeaScale_Sunshot_cover“What should our first campaign be?”

Funnily enough, that question itself is a fantastic starting campaign. When an organization first begins crowdsourcing solutions to their problems, opening with a call for questions is an incredibly effective strategy.

The Department of Energy learned this firsthand when they initially launched their Sunshot Catalyst campaign. Their first step was to put out a call for problem statements, with the plan to later solicit solutions to the problems the community considered most important.

When you think about it, this method has a lot of common sense to it. After all, the same principles which govern the crowdsourcing of solutions apply to garnering problems as well: the community involved is most likely to have observed problems or issues that could benefit from crowdsourced solutions (in comparison to those outside the company, or even a smaller group of team members). Those community members are also most likely to have an idea of which problems and solutions will have the biggest impact. Further, that community is going to feel more invested in helping to arrive at solutions if they care about the issue—which they are more likely to do if they recommended it in the first place.

And thus it all comes full circle.

By asking their best and brightest for the most pressing problems in solar energy, the Department of Energy surfaced ideas on which the community voted regarding the most important, pressing problems. From there, the Department put out a call looking for innovators to present solutions to those problems, and through a process of evaluation, twenty teams were financially supported to prototype those solutions.

More and more, employees are feeling dissatisfied with their jobs, and a huge reason behind that is that they don’t feel heard. So, getting started with introducing crowdsourcing to your community? Consider using your first campaign as an opportunity for your members to get involved with their own thoughts on what is most important to them.

Click here to read more about how the Department of Energy utilized this strategy with their Sunshot Catalyst campaign, in this Sunshot Catalyst Case Study Comic!

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