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Notes from Initial Crowd-Solving Workshops for 1% Pledge

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

NOTE: In May of this year, SeaFreight Labs joined the 1% Pledge movement by committing to donate at least 1% of its product to global non-profits to aid their work on humanitarian issues. This blog documents our journey on this commitment.

What an exciting week! In the past seven days I participated in two different challenge-design workshops. One was with a team in Philippines and the other was with a team in India. Both teams are from a major global humanitarian organization. More to come about the organization in a future Blog.

Both workshops are the first step in the launch of a crowd-solving challenge. Each challenge is coordinated by SeaFreight Labs as part of our 1% Pledge commitment. We expect to make public announcements about each challenge later this summer.

The workshop was led by SeaFreight Labs strategic partner, @InnoCentive. InnoCentive is a global leader in the design and execution of crowdsolving challenges. They usually do these workshops in person at the client’s HQ, but due to Covid-19 we used Zoom. The technology worked very well to allow us to include large groups of leaders and subject matter experts in each country: 11 for the Philippines and 9 for India.

The InnoCentive team was led by a talented Project Principal and their Chief Innovation Officer. They introduced each group to open innovation in general and their proprietary “Challenge Driven Innovation” process. Then they explained the different types of challenges that are possible on the InnoCentive platform and the award structures for each. Last, we learned about principles for optimal challenge formulation. Throughout, we reviewed numerous examples of successful challenges from the InnoCentive platform.

The intellectual case for crowd-solving is powerful and was communicated through Figure 1 below.

Figure 1.

The organization in the workshops has talented employees, which are represented by the yellow squares at the left of Figure 1. Unfortunately, they have not been able to solve a number of problems in their work domain. Crowd-solving in general, and InnoCentive in particular, is able to deliver access to experts not employed at the workshop organization AND the rest of the world, which includes many other potential solvers of the unsolved problems, represented by the aqua and green shading in Figure 1.

Obviously, the utility of these two audiences (experts not employed by the workshop organization and the rest of the world) depends on their size, levels of education, and geographic and skill diversity. InnoCentive described their solver universe (see Figure 2) and their process of bringing the upcoming challenges to the attention of almost 500,000 registered solvers. Both India and the Philippines got quite excited about the potential of the entire process.

Figure 2.

In a short four hours, one of the groups settled on the challenge that they want to bring before the global crowd – related to housing. In the coming weeks, SeaFreight Labs and InnoCentive will help them prepare their problem for the crowd-solving public and launch their challenge.

The other group realized that their initial problem statement was not worded well enough to attract useful solutions that would help them in their work. They decided to regroup off-line and use what they learned in the workshop to rethink their problem and desired outcomes. In the near future, this group, SeaFreight Labs and InnoCentive will reconvene to redefine their challenge so it delivers actionable results.

There is no greater professional satisfaction than to donate one’s skills to an effort aiming to resolve longstanding problems in the global humanitarian sector. Encourage your company to take the 1% Pledge. Join me in the #SeaFreight1percentPledge!

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