Crowdsourcing improvements in elderly care

mensch ärgere dich nicht 2I wrote last month about the PCORI Challenge, which hoped to crowdsource improvements to healthcare by soliciting ideas from patients and other interested parties via the WellSpringboard website.

The platform is a simple one.  A person has an idea for a research project.  They then record a video explaining their idea.  WellSpringboard then post this video to the site, give it a funding goal and then promote the idea via their social media channels.  Once enough people have funded the project, it is then opened up to researchers who apply to carry out the research.  These applications are reviewed by a combination of the general public and a board of scientists.  So it’s a combination of crowdsourcing ideas and crowdfunding the research.

A similar project is being run in Sweden using the Finnish crowdsourcing platform Innopinion.  They have teamed up with Swedish Care International to come up with some innovative ideas to improve the care of elderly people in Sweden.  The project is in honour of Swedens Queen Silvia, who is 70 this year, with the Queen Silvia Nursing Award given to the best idea eminating from the competition.

It’s hoped that the platform will engage around 10,000 nurses in the idea creation process.  In addition to turning to the crowd for brainstorming, it’s also hoped that the crowd will help to evaluate the ideas generated.

Innopinion CEO Tom Laine was excited about the prospect of the campaign and the possiblities of achieving something of real social value.

“I don’t recall we’ve ever had an idea campaign that was of this great importance, and we’re truly proud and honoured to be running this particular campaign.” he told me last week.

Laine was hopeful that a successful implementation of this project will encourage similarly worthwhile crowdsourcing endeavours to come forward.

“It’s not just about collecting ideas, anyone can do that, but wisdom truly is in the crowds as they say, and we’re leveraging it to the max in evaluating the ideas within the crowd – our technology enabling this is quite unique!”.

The competition will kick-off in September and will run until the middle of November, with the winning idea announced in December.


12 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing improvements in elderly care

  1. What a great idea. Elderly care is kind of the ugly duckling of healthcare, so it's great that better ways of delivering it are being sought.

    • Yeah it's a great idea and one I'll be following with great interest. Hopefully come December I'll be able to post a follow up with the success they've achieved.

    • If the project in Sweden goes as planned, the Swedish Care International and Innopinion will next year expand this into chosen other countries – most likely to certain developing countries. This is of course possible to do anywhere, if we find a suitable partner to do this in each country, but at least from Innopinion's point of view we hope to run these widely across the globe.

  2. Interesting idea. I wonder if they considered letting people other than nurses contribute? I'd imagine patients and relatives might have some good ideas too.

    • Originally there was a plan to have this open for everyone, but Swedish Care International wanted to keep this focused on nurses and nursing students for now. Perhaps next year it will be opened for anyone to attend, but the main prize, the Queen Silvia Nursing Award, will only be awarded for a nurse or nursing student. We could of course have other prizes for the general public like we usually have in other campaigns, but this is a decision that SCI must make.

      If you have in mind who'd be interested in running something like this in your country, feel free to share this information with them, we'd be happy to run similar campaigns and other open social innovation campaigns anywhere in the world.

    • Hi Lucien, would be interesting to know more about the campaign you mentioned. There have been plenty of very interesting social innovation campaigns being run all over the world. The difference being that in just about all cases the execution has been done in an open innovation model, which from our point of view has several inefficiencies and "flaws".

      In our approach the people are used very resource-effectively and targeted based on their skills and interest, etc., so that the fan/friend/follower- effects are disabled, as they twist the results to the wrong direction. Also such issues as how the ideas are presented, how they are named, the avatar or logo, who has given them and promoted their idea, etc. have the effect that all ideas are not treated equally, and the voting of best ideas is not really neutral. One other issue is the fact that in open innovation campaigns people are most of the time ineffective and passive, and the actual ideas do not develop during the process, they remain just as they were submitted.

      We've tried to avoid these issues by keeping control of the process, sending participants individual branded, personalized and gamified tasks based on their skills, interests, and many other criteria, and the ideas are evaluated and given developing feedback all through the process, the poorest ideas don't burden the process, but only the best ideas progress all through the iteration rounds. Just to name a few of the features we've implemented. Surely our approach is not suitable for all kinds of campaigns and there can still be found plenty of points to improve, and for that we need feedback from users to point those development points out to us for future releases.

      All feedback is very welcome! And BTW, our process is language independent, it can be run in any language and from any end terminal with any OS.

  3. Great elder care project! If this project tends in its right way then definitely the success is in your hand. Planning is important factor in every project. Waiting for coming December to see what actually the success they’ve achieved.

  4. Sounds like a great idea which hopefully will bring together various insights for a positive impact for the elderly care sector; as it is the market needs innovation for better care and funding.

  5. Props to Sweden for thinking of an innovative way to not only find new ways to source and fun healthcare but engage the crowd too. Do we know whether their crowdsourcing approach bore any success? A large part of this method relies on the involvement of the crowd and so it could potentially backfire. They are the main resource so it may not be fruitful in every sector or in every country. Having said that, as a whole, the population is living to grow older than before. Funding and sources are becoming real issues and innovative thinking is needed to curb the care crisis.

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