Three Idea Sourcing Success Stories


What they used: Allourideas

PlaNYC is a plan produced by the Mayor’s office to address the city’s long-term challenges including growing population, climate changes, a changing economy and an aging infrastructure.

In 2011, the NYC Mayor’s Office centered a campaign around the question, “Which do you think is better for creating a greener, greater New York City?” They seeded their allourideas platform with 25 ideas. Users voted on these ideas and added their own.

The result

Around 25,000 votes and 400 new ideas.

A blog post about the project explains further, “Critically, 8 of the top 10 ideas were uploaded by users. In other words, some of these uploaded ideas represented either completely novel ideas or new ways of framing existing ideas.” Some of these ideas were used in the 2011 revision of the PlaNYC plan. Read more about the campaign.

Boston Public Schools

What they used: Communityplanit

Different from the forum-like idea platforms that we’re used to, makes a game out of collecting people’s opinions. Participants “compete in timed missions, earn awards, collect coins, and pledge them to real-life causes to make a direct impact on your community.”

This worked out well for Boston students, teachers, parents and school administrators.

449 registered users produced over 4,600 online comments.

The initiative ended in a community meeting where the collected ideas were talked about. According to communityplanit, the resulting dialogue of Community PlanIT and the community meeting will be used by Boston’s decision makers to develop a new system of accountability for the city’s public schools.”

City of Ottawa, Kansas

What they used: Mindmixer

What they learned: Marketing an idea-generating campaign is worth the effort

Paul Sommer writes, “The City of Ottawa, Kan., was searching for a great way to reach out and interact with the local community. We had thought that soliciting feedback from the community on Facebook would accommodate our needs, but after a few months we were just not getting any meaningful interactions on our Facebook page.”

Afterwards they turned to mindmixer, a robust platform popular among government organizations, but they didn’t stop there. After getting up and running, the Ottawa team used flyers, business cards, a message on the bottom of their utility bills and more to promote the site. The most interaction was through a mindmixer widget embedded on the homepage of

“We’ve been very pleased with the results; they’ve been better than we expected. We realized that the site is not a Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” scenario, so pushing the site in a very active way is paying off. Some good ideas have already sprung up, and this is only the beginning.”

Read more about their promotional efforts.

Other idea sourcing applications to check out:

Open Town Hall



Jera Brown is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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