Crowdsourcing. Open Innovation. The ‘wisdom of crowds’. Co-creation. These terms are cropping up more and more frequently in both blog posts and board rooms, and it would be easy to dismiss crowdsourcing as the latest management zeitgeist. However, at Crowdicity we see every day how connected crowds are able to find more, and better, solutions, and that they have the power to drive change.

Last year, using the Crowdicity Ideas Management Platform, The Edge invited a community of Healthcare professionals to help define and put into practice a series of principles related to Care Design. This online community sought to not only define the principles, but to also share ways of putting them into practice. The Care Design community became more than a place for sharing ideas on a topic, it became a hub for sharing resources and practical advice for the implementation of better care design.

Co-creation projects are not limited to experts and leaders in particular fields, the beauty of crowd sourcing innovation is that ideas can come from frontline staff. Often, it’s the people on the ground, who know the day-to-day challenges of healthcare, that are the least likely to be asked for input in strategic decision making, Crowdsourcing gives these people a voice.

One of our earliest successes at Crowdicity was in the healthcare sector. We helped Dorset Health Care University NHS Foundation Trust to design and launch a community called i-matter, a system that was open to all members of staff within the trust. In the first three months, i-matter captured over 1,430 individual contributions across ten challenges. This has resulted in a number of ideas being taken forward and adopted, one in as little as 22 hours. Furthermore, because the project engaged staff, they were more committed to implementing the ideas that they helped to create! Read more about the i-matter project in our case study.

Taking the idea of frontline, crowd-sourced innovation one step further, we helped the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto set up an online community to discuss how its hospitals sourced and delivered patient meals. The overall goal of the UHN team was to find a way to use more local sources for food, whilst also balancing patients needs and budget constraints.

The crowdsourcing project sought the views of staff, patients and the local community. The aim was to get a better picture of the challenges involved in changing the patient food system, and to understand the views of staff and patients. In their own words, the leaders of the initiative explained:
Crowdsourcing generated interest and engagement from the community. It uncovered broader discussions on the challenges with hospital food, and a glimpse into the disconnect between ideas and realities.
Adeline Cohen B and Kady Cowan
Exploring the place of Ontario food at University Health Network, March 2015

These case studies illustrate the power of Crowdsourcing in healthcare innovation; connecting experts, frontline staff, patients and the wider community provides decision makers with a wider range of perspectives and ideas. In addition, co-creation communities also allow staff to have a say in how their patients’ care is designed and executed; giving them a voice creates a more empowered, more engaged workforce. In short, crowdsourcing absolutely deserves its place in healthcare innovation today.

Amy Breedon – Jones
Customer excellence Manager