3 Lessons Learned from Open Nation 2017

On a crisp early November day, innovators from around the world convened for Open Nation, IdeaScale’s annual conference celebrating innovation. They came to discuss how crowdsourcing ideas is changing their organizations and to learn best practices from each other.

With speakers ranging from Tesla to the Coast Guard and from Ikea to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America, the presenters shared an encyclopedic range of stories about how they are creating cultures of change.

A few of my favorite takeaways:

  • Crowd sourcing is co-creation.  Wing Tang of IKEA sat for a fireside interview (the fire was projected) with IdeaScale CEO Rob Hoehn to talk about how the spirit of inclusion that drives their crowdsourcing efforts. The company reaches out to universities, customers, suppliers and startups to cultivate a culture of collaboration. This has led to exciting developments such as an augmented reality app that helps shoppers envision furniture in their own spaces.

  • IdeaScale connects the workforce directly to senior leadership, aligning the organization around a common purpose. Andy Howell who leads innovation for the Coast Guard told us the dramatic story of how the field level Coast Guardsmen responded to Hurricane Harvey with tremendous speed and agility. They harnessed and adapted consumer grade technologies to aid their rescue efforts. They used map mashups to plot people in distress and used social media to monitor and respond to calls for help. Later, they ran an IdeaScale campaign to capture the lessons Coast Guardsmen learned in the response. Because they shared lessons learned in a transparent, online fashion, they were able to cut through military bureaucracy and put their ideas for improving disaster response directly in front of Admirals. If you watch only one video from Open Nation, watch this oneThanks for all you do Coast Guard!


  • KISS (Keep Innovation Simple Stupid) Parag Vaish of Tesla demonstrated his streamlined, direct and simple process for assessing ideas. His model works like IdeaScale’s ReviewScale in which a panel of reviewer assesses each idea based on a set of criteria. He challenges idea authors to keep their ideas to 140 characters or less so that reviewers can read and review ideas in one minute or less!

Cue the jazz band playing Metallica!

Hope to see you at next year’s Open Nation for more great discussion about co-creating for change! To tide you over until next year, you can view presentations from Open Nation 2017 here. And keep watching this space for news about IdeaScale’s Customer Advisory Boards where you can continue the conversation with your peers.

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Kerry Seed, Innovation Architect at IdeaScale

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