We are living in unprecedented times when we are facing loss of income along with the threat of loss of life in all of our communities on a global scale. This has truly been brought home to us, because IdeaScale is a global company with employees working all over the world and we’ve found that the experience of this pandemic is something that is shared by each and every one of our colleagues from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Albuquerque, New Mexico. And because we know that the path towards recovery requires new effort and ideas from all of us, we thought we’d share our COVID-19 strategy (so far – this page is updated regularly):

  • Download the NASA crowdsourcing story about how they engaged their entire workforce in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Listen to our July 14th webinar to hear from the team responsible for deploying and supporting the USDOL’s COVID-19 public dialogues. Learn about best practices they implemented that allowed them to quickly generate interest from the public, to effectively moderate ongoing discussions, and to identify promising ideas and comments in real-time in order to inform USDOL leadership and support swiftly moving public policy discussions.
  • We hosted a COVID-19 crowdsourcing strategy round table with our customers and extended network that went over crowdsourcing best practices in times like this. The webinar recording and associated resources are below.
  • We are carefully monitoring the recommendations of governmental health agencies, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local health organizations and require that all of our employees work from home until the worst of the COVID threat has passed so that we can encourage social distancing. This also means suspending all unnecessary travel for IdeaScale employees. At this time, you can expect all of the same IdeaScale services from all of our employees as they communicate with you from their homes.
  • As always, IdeaScale looks to our community as both our client-base, but also as a source for inspiration and potential solutions. To that end, 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. We will be socializing all of these ideas with health organizations and the public over the coming weeks.
  • If you believe a COVID-19 response campaign would assist you and your organization, our accounts team would be happy to configure the campaign’s launch for you free of charge. You can read some initial problem statement suggestions below. If you’re interested, please reach out to your account manager to discuss how to articulate your problem statement and we will take it from there. You can see links to live public-facing dialogues in the prompts section below.

Template for Crisis Crowdsourcing Campaigns

A worksheet for anyone planning a COVID-19 response campaign


Designing a COVID-19 Crowdsourcing Challenge

View the webinar recording

Designing a COVID-19 Crowdsourcing Challenge

Presentation Deck

COVID-19 Example 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.

Potential Prompts:

  • 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.

Potential Prompts:

  • 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 the entire center 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 or borrowed from public campaigns already launched by our customers (originally post):

  • Department of Labor Campaign: How might we provide expanded family and medical leave to employees affected by COVID-19?
  • LIVE NYC Small Business Services: Storefront Business Solutions
  • LIVE ILTA Campaign: How might we improve employee and contractor health and safety?
  • LIVE by United Way: What problems aren’t we seeing and how can we address them?
    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?
  • Where are their opportunities to co-create new solutions with vendors and suppliers?
  • What Federal, state or local policies should be adapted to improve safety, economic resilience and community well-being?
  • What does this community need in terms of supplies, practices or solutions? / What can I contribute in terms of supplies, practices or solutions to this community?
  • How can we address current public health challenges and change the way we serve our customers to continue providing them the best and safest service?
  • What are some measures we can take to ensure employees serving customers do so in the safest environment?
  • Social Distance approved tips for staying connected with family and friends
  • How are you staying active and healthy while under quarantine or shelter in place?
  • Share your backyard, basement, attic, spare room and garage upgrades
  • Virtual grocery list: share your favorite snacks and where to grab them
  • Quarantine Kitchen: add your best home cooking recipe
  • Quarantine Kitchen: what are your must have pantry ingredients?
  • Home Office: share your must have home office features including setup, devices, snacks, and more
  • Water Cooler Watch: without spoilers, give your pitch for your favorite movies and shows
  • Parent Corner: what have you found works best for your family as kids transition to remote learning? Share your tips, tricks, and lessons learned.
  • How are you managing stress? How tools are you using now that you didn’t use before?
  • Lost but not forgotten: What do you really wish you hadn’t left at the office?
  • If you’re a university, you can see a longer list of education-specific problem statements and prompts here.

Many contacts have reminded us that they found this “Crisis Mode Creativity” presentation from a prior Open Nation extremely helpful.

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.