We are living in unprecedented times. I’m sure many of you (much like the team at IdeaScale) are experiencing the impacts of COVID-19’s rapid rise in personal and profound ways. So far, I’ve been heartened by how so many of our partners, colleagues, customers, and friends have responded with everything from digital happy hours to connect in times of social distancing to new methods of supporting response efforts without leaving our homes.
We were heartened, also, to see that many of our customers and partners are taking this moment to look to their network for solutions and novel responses by launching COVID-19 crowdsourcing campaigns. Everything from asking volunteers for new work from home best practices to asking customers what new products would help them adapt in this time. And because we know that many of you outside of our customer network might also be interested in looking to your crowd in this challenging time, we thought we would share a few problem statement formats that you can adopt at your own organization, as well. So here are a few example COVID-19 crowdsourcing campaigns:
Crowdsourcing teleworking challenges and solutions:
Potential intro text: As we all adjust to the current, and ultimately temporary, “maximum telework flexibility” environment, help us here at the innovation team identify common challenges people face and creative solutions to address those challenges. This challenge is also an opportunity for you to connect with your colleagues while discussing ways to best adjust to our home work environments.
- What are the challenges you are still facing as you continue adjusting to your home work environment? Keep in mind that a lot of the challenges (IT issues like VPN, equipment issues, etc.) may not have readily available solutions. See below for challenges brought already identified by your colleagues…maybe you comment on a challenge with a potential solution that will help out someone else!
- How else have you adapted to your home work environment? Think of ways to maintain motivation, tackle technical issues, connect with your team, etc.
A fun space for online connection and collaboration:
Potential intro text: As we all adjust to the current, and ultimately temporary, “maximum telework flexibility” environment, we want to create a space that allows all of us to virtually connect with one another in a safe, fun, and light-hearted manner. Within this space, we also want to use the power of the crowd and discover creative ways you are implementing to adapt your home work environment. This challenge will remain open until we return back to our normal working environments.
- How have you adapted your home environment to make it more comfortable, fun, and manageable? Pictures are a plus but be sure they don’t include anything you don’t want your colleagues seeing!
- How have you remained close to your team? What tools / policies are helping you with this?
- What topics should we crowdsource that may help reduce the burden of your current work environment? Ideas can range from work specific to useful distractions (trivia / brain teaser challenge anybody?) Of course, keep in mind that there is a limit on what we can address.
- What is your favorite online exercise or entertainment resource right now?
A few other simple prompts we cooked up as well and originally posted here:
- How might our team best support one another through these turbulent times?
- How might our team leverage our strengths as an organization to serve the public good and provide solutions to our community?
- How might we maintain focus and momentum as a team as we adjust to the changing circumstances and accommodate the ever-emerging and quite novel demands on our team both personally and professionally?
- How might we best welcome and onboard our new hires on a remote basis, given new teleworking policies?
- How might we best collaborate with our peers in the industry given the cancellation of conferences and workshops?
Also, if you’d like to participate in a public crowdsourcing challenge already in progress, IdeaScale is sponsoring two public campaigns on Betterific: one campaign asks for ideas that will help hospitals and health organizations better communicate in a health crisis like this and the other campaign seeks ideas on how it is possible to support response efforts from the comfort of your home. If you have ideas that would serve either one of these challenges, please share them here. We will be socializing all of these ideas with health organizations and the public over the coming weeks.
For what it’s worth, IdeaScale was founded in an uncertain time during the last great recession. We weren’t sure what the future of a fledgling start-up would be when so much was unknown, but we continued to bootstrap our business with only our customers as our investors and we’ve grown to the global, virtually-connected team that we are today. We have always thought of ourselves as partners to our customers and that goes for every chat support technician to our top executives. We pledge to be here for you in the coming months. Please let us know how we can help you bridge the gap between business as usual and our new goal of flattening this curve.