This case study explores the results of an innovation research process undertaken by Oxfam, which compared internal feedback vs. general public feedback to identical sets of ideas. In comparing responses between these two audiences, Oxfam discovered an immediate and obvious divide between their staff’s opinions about which fundraising ideas would perform the best, versus what the general public preferred – an important lesson about avoiding the bubble of the echo chamber.
The list of problems that need to be solved is growing almost as fast as our solutions are. Some are concerned about the lack of food and water security, others worry about access to education and a whopping 45.2% of millennials think today’s most pressing problem is the destruction of natural resources. But with the proliferation of problems, organizations and enterprises are broadening their search for innovative solutions and many of them are looking to the crowd for ideas.
Crowdsourcing is often associated with start-ups and blue-chip companies who are trying to innovate, but it has the potential to reach far beyond those with seed money and infinite endowments. The beauty of crowdsourcing is that it is rooted in grassroots fundamentals—an environment that is ideal for non-profit businesses.
The 2015 Back End of Innovation (BEI) conference recently took place in San Jose, California, with 150+ leaders from a wide range of organizations. It was a busy few days, but as expected, there were robust conversations and some exceptional presentations.