Thursday, 8 November 2012

Innovation Station

Fostering Innovation and a culture of openness through crowd sourced idea generation. Davenport University, Michigan.

What is innovation and why do it?
The act of introducing something new. New services or repurposing existing things to provide new and better services. Continuous improvement to services. Can be big changes, or small changes which have a big impact.
Continuous improvements over time give big strategic benefits.

In Davenport's mission statement it says " we will develop a culture that encourages innovation from all employees and will implement a process that allows all ideas to be vetted so the best ones become reality".

They needed a system which could harness the features of social media, including community based discussions.
Used a tool called Ideascale. Allows rating and ranking of ideas, comments and discussion, different communities ( eg staff and students) and collaboration.
Called Innovation Station. People can vote on ideas, comment on them etc.
But this is only part of a larger process.
From the ideas you have to research and experiment possible solutions. Report progress back to the community through Ideascale.

To keep discussions focused they have campaigns, eg how we can improve x. Also moderated to close questions that have already been answered, reply to off topic questions etc.

Need a culture of innovation to make it work. "If you build it they will come". No, they won't . They use gamification, scores, badges etc. You can see most popular ideas, and the people who've contributed most.
There is an innovation fund for new ideas to be experimented.
Provides visibility and openness on how things work. Has increased synergy between academics, professional services and IT.
Also visibility on why things are stopped or not taken forward.

They pick pick top 5 ideas to fund each cycle. Ideas which are not funded are often taken forward in other ways, for example using systems and processes already in place, coming up with cost neutral solution or finding other funding.

I really like this idea. I can see it promoting discussions across the University, especially been central staff and those in academic departments.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Dan said...

I think this is a great idea and would love CiCS/Sheffield to have something like this.

One of the IC interns is looking at something very
similar to this, so it's being thought about within the dept.

For me, it would really help in terms of getting ideas and opinions from the student community on improvements to student facing systems - which could be almost as challenging as beneficial, but I think worthwhile.