The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to take a different approach to how businesses are run. Innovation management has taken priority as business leaders scramble to find new ways of providing relief and assistance.
Technology is a critical part of all businesses but is now one of the highest accelerating business trends in the market. As seen in a recent study, digital evolution is growing two to three times faster than it was five years ago.
NASA powered their response to COVID-19 using the IdeaScale platform to generate and share ideas. Through crowdsourcing, they began helping the country deal with the crisis.
On April 1, 2020, NASA requested agency-wide participation for ideas on their IdeaScale platform, [email protected] They wanted to leverage their capabilities and expertise to aid the nation in a time of crisis.
Within two weeks, idea submissions totaled 250. These received more than 500 comments and 4,500 votes.
The ideas outlined projects in three categories:
- Ventilation devices
- Personal protective equipment
- Monitoring and forecasting the spread of impact of the virus
The ideas shared on the platform added value to numerous projects. One project involves using NASA’s supercomputer capability to advance treatment and vaccine research.
Artificial intelligence (AI) expertise was also offered for developing new data mining techniques to address high priority COVID-19-related questions. Other ideas centered around virus tracking and forecasting apps. Additional ideas include:
- 3D printed masks
- PPE equipment
- Impact visualizations
- Ventilators modified by NASA
- Virus detection sensors
Seven ideas were implemented to help fight COVID-19. If additional funding is made available, others will follow.
The [email protected] Platform
The [email protected] IdeaScale platform is internally used by NASA employees to share ideas. This unconventional way of innovation management provides an inventive means of advancing projects.
It falls under the charge of NASA SOLVE, serving as a one-stop-shop for competitions and challenges that relate to the agency’s mission. [email protected] encourages collaboration among everyone in the NASA community. This occurs through active discussion and activities designed to solve challenges.
Cooperating and collaborating through crowdsourcing is effective in finding solutions. Reaching out to an entire organization allows for higher-level discussions and greater idea sharing.
Crowdsourcing also enables people to gain access to more resources than what may otherwise be available. Organizational leaders sometimes go outside those boundaries to gather ideas from individuals who are directly connected to the problem or challenge.
NASA understands how to match ideas with projects that create promising results. Their organizational leaders have faith in their talented employees when it comes to solving details and difficult problems.
As [email protected] Program Lead Carissa Callini said about the initiative, “At times it seemed as elegant as a space launch. It was exciting to see so many people submit ideas that spanned so many different disciplines and expertise as well as capture the creativity of the NASA workforce.”
IdeaScale will also offer a comic book version of their case study about NASA’s innovation management efforts soon. Visit the IdeaScale website for additional information, and to learn how you can start your own idea sharing community using the IdeaScale platform.