Stories and information about the coronavirus pandemic have been all over the news – on our social media feeds, newspapers, and TV. In order to see the problems in United Way’s communities before they hit the news, United Way Worldwide’s (UWW) Innovation Team, using IdeaScale’s open innovation platform, launched the Invisible Problems crowdsourcing campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to ask people what problems caused by the pandemic they were seeing on the ground that weren’t being talked about yet.

To help communities respond and recover from some of these pandemic-generated invisible problems, UWW’s Innovation Team partnered with a Big 4 consulting firm to run a social innovation challenge. The challenge, also powered by IdeaScale, crowdsourced solutions from the firm’s volunteers for some of the difficulties surfaced by the Invisible Problems campaign. The firm’s volunteers designed solutions for minimally viable prototypes that UWW’s Innovation Team could test for no more than $5000 and within a three-month period. Three teams of the firm’s volunteers pitched their solutions to a panel of judges at a live, virtual “Designathon”. The result was three exciting solutions. Watch this webinar presentation to learn more about United Way’s unique response in a crisis to find out how the program worked and what the solutions were.


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