Radicalize Your Suggestion Box

Cross-posted from Wired to Share
While many government organizations are still struggling with the applicability of social media tools to their mission, there’s one area for engagement and improvement that jumps right out: bringing collaboration to the traditional suggestion box.
What are some of the ways that agencies use a suggestion box? What are the benefits and risks of taking the review process from an insular committee to all stakeholders?
Computers have already helped us move beyond the simple wooden box and slip of paper to ideas like online sourcing of budget suggestions and process reforms from citizens and employees.
Taking that process to a whole new level, Web 2.0 tools like UserVoice and IdeaScale open up the suggestion box to internal and/or external stakeholders, enabling robust vetting and ranking of ideas in an open forum.
Any agency with a broad front-line community or stakeholder group – any agency, really – could use these tools to empower employees and revitalize its mission. I encourage anyone evangelizing Web 2.0 and social media to bring these tools to top-level decision makers.
Departments and governments already using this kind of collaboration include the TSA and City of Santa Cruz. What would you like to see?

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Government 2.0 Radio.

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Geordie Adams

I could not agree more with you Adriel. From our perspective at PubliVate we believe that innovation and collaboration campaigns have arrived in the public sector. We worked with the Canadian federal government on an idea campaign that brought together 68 different federal organizations and almost 1,200 ideas. It was a breathtaking experience. That said, it’s clear that, as they say, the devil is in the detail, as we have found out through our engagements. Utilizing an enabling platform is the easy part. Getting the processes (approach/framework, governance, communications, leadership commitment, among others) right before you start is the heavy lifting. If you don’t, it is too often Web 1.0 all over again – nice website but why don’t I have any traffic? – syndrome. However, with the right support, counsel, processes, and tools, it can be a defining moment for government leaders and participants!

Bianca Lipscomb

I’m curious to know more about how the systems mentioned in this discussion, Manor Labs, Idea Scale and UserVoice are different from issue tracking systems like Gemini — it seems that the element of voting on issues seems unique, anything else? I’m just starting to look into issue tracking systems more and found this post interesting. Thanks!

Dustin Haisler


Feel free to signup for a Manor Labs account to give the platform a testdrive. The Manor Labs open innovation platform is powered by Spigit. I’ve done quite a bit of research on open innovation platforms and what immediately drew me to Spigit is that they have a ranking and rewards mechanism built in to the platform This provides a value to the participants for the amount of time they put into the innovation process. If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] or call me at (512) 272-5555.



Geordie Adams

Hi Bianca,

As with Dustin we spend a lot of time (actually all of our time) focused on collaboration and innovation management with our sole business area being the public sector (we feel it s different enough that it deserves a partner developing tools and, more importantly, processes specifically for them). We are also fans of what Dustin and his colleagues have undertaken (as well as being fans of Spigit). If you want to reach us you can give me a shout at 613-858-9000 or [email protected]…and we have found numerous things that are different from something like Gemini that are critical to success in innovation management…take care…Geordie

Bianca Lipscomb

Thank you Geordie and Dustin! My organization (the Biodiversity Heritage Library) is in the process of conducting a small scale review of some of these systems for their application to libraries. I’ll take you up on your offers after I’ve gotten some more detailed questions for you. Thanks again.