Learning About Crowdsourcing with IdeaScale!

Crowdsourcing is the practice of asking a large number of people, usually using the internet as the medium, what they perceive as problems within an organization, municipality, or non-governmental civic organization.  Crowdsourcing can take many forms.  A city planner may ask how can the city better accommodate people of varying ethnicities.  Which is an open ended question meant to elicit a wide ranging number of respondence from the participating population.  Crowdsourcing can also work towards a singular goal that could involve a contest with a prize involved.  These type of contests usually involve designing the best mobile app for a city or a best designed logo.

IdeaScale is a platform which allows crowdsourcing to take place.  There are two main tiers in the hierarchy of IdeaScale from the administration side of the site.  At the top is Community Scale, which can host a multitude of Campaigns, the secondary tier within the website.  With the Community’s ability to host several Campaigns you can host extremely targeted topics on the same platform and see if one answer can interrelate to another problem posed in a different campaign.

There are three main ways to participate on IdeaScale as a user.  First, you can submit an idea to the question posed.  This can done by hitting the blue button on the top right of the screen “Submit New Idea.”  Once an idea has been posed in a community, other people can up vote the idea or down vote the idea or add comments to the original idea.

Due to the complexity of the website and the inability for people to comment without being logged in as members, IdeaScale could best be used as an internal crowdsourcing application for larger cities that have complex or jurisdictional overlaps.  Various city departments could use IdeaScale to come up better ideas to streamline internal processes and foster better interagency cooperation.

How Ideascale works

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On the Admin side when you first log in this is the screen that you see.  This screen show is scrolled down to show the link for manageing campaigns (right side of the screen just above the leader board.

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One you click that button you are into the campaign manager.  With campaign manager you have the option of adding a new campaign to the community or you can manage your campaigns by grouping them together – kind of like a file folder on your windows 10 explorer or OS X Finder.

On the top left of the screen you can add a new campaign if that is an option desired, if not you can add a new campaign then all of the tools that are needed to customize your campaign can be found on the orange side bar on the left.  The engagement tool bar is open under this screen shot and it give you the option to manage campaigns which is pictured on the right.  This tool bar also allows you to set the time when you want to send out emails for engagement and the emails to which you wish to include in the campaign.   The tools you end up using the most are engagement, customization and workflow.


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My campaign belongs in the community development side of planning.  The question asked is how can the city of San Luis Obispo increase ethic diversity in the city.

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And these are the two responses that I received.

This article is a guest post written by a student who used IdeaScale in the classroom in order to aid in city planning. You can find the original post here.

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