IdeaScale Case Study: Columbia University
 

IdeaScale Case Study: Columbia University

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Columbia’s commitment to superior education and its ability to listen to its community has earned its position as number 11 in the World University Rankings. So, in early 2013, the CCSC ...

Columbia’s commitment to superior education and its ability to listen to its community has earned its position as number 11 in the World University Rankings. So, in early 2013, the CCSC Communications Committee launched the IdeaScale crowdsourcing platform with just a few clicks in order to generate ideas about how to improve the campus experience.

Learn how

Generated more than two-hundred ideas (some of which were implemented right away)
Made changes that had otherwise been stifled
Changed their innovation process
And expanded their communities

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IdeaScale Case Study: Columbia University IdeaScale Case Study: Columbia University Document Transcript

  • IdeaScale Case Studies | Page 2 Columbia University 12 Improving the Student Experience Columbia University has a long and rich history. It was founded in 1754 and is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of more than 6,000 in its Manhattan-based campus and those people make up both the staff of its distinguished research center as well as the students who benefit from the rich environment at this center of learning. Columbia’s commitment to superior education and its ability to listen to its community has earned its position as number 11 in the World University Rankings. So, in early 2013, the CCSC Communications Committee launched the IdeaScale crowdsourcing platform with just a few clicks in order to generate ideas about how to improve the campus experience. This community would served as the active priority list for administration implementation as well as a collaboration space for members to work together on initiatives. The community was called “What To Fix Columbia” and membership was limited to those with an @columbia.edu or @barnard.edu email address. The site was promoted through posters that were placed around campus stating a common issue and listing the copy “WTF Columbia?” along with the wtfcolumbia.com URL. It was also promoted by the CCSC Communications Committee. The community was managed by a team of eight who regularly monitored day-to-day interactions. And the results were fantastic. The site generated: • • • More than two-hundred ideas, including helpful suggestions for basic campus updates that have since been implemented like revised gate hours, a new mailbox notification system, and a redesigned walkway. Changes that had otherwise been stifled by committee review. For example, Columbia College once had a longstanding rule that commencement speakers had to have an undergraduate Columbia degree. This severely limited options for commencement speakers and students complained year after year. Using What To Fix Columbia, the idea finally surfaced in a visible way and once the administration saw the quantitative amount of student support for a change to the policy, the regulation was lifted. Enhanced study experiences and hours for students. The Manhattan campus has a limited amount of space and only restricted opportunities for venue growth. Using the data from WTF Columbia, the CCSC Communications Committee persuaded the administration to open the largest dining hall as a late-night study space. When students still weren’t using it, members consulted the WTF Columbia
  • IdeaScale Case Studies | Page 2 • • site to source a reason and found that people were complaining about the lack of wireless internet. This summer, the administration is installing WiFi in the new study space. Minimized the bureaucracy associated with the vast network of councils and offices at Columbia. The college now skips the “focus group” portion of campus change and relies on the groundswell data from WTF Columbia. Community expansion to three more associated undergraduate schools at Columbia (Engineering, Barnard, and General Studies). Ongoing usage of the site has continued because of the site’s initial success and promotion has continued through word of mouth. “After sampling a few other crowdsourcing softwares, we found that IdeaScale had more flexibility and a more comprehensive feature list than other solutions,” said Jared Odessky, VP Communications for CCSC, “With IdeaScale, not only did we find a successful product, but  we also experienced great customer service. Ideascale’s team is helpful in learning the back-end of the technology, understanding the project lifecycle and its challenges, and is responsive to questions and concerns.” Additionally, the site has become an information hub where students answer one another’s questions about each other’s concerns. It’s eliminated complaint redundancies and serves as part of institutional memory. Visitors to the WTF Columbia community can immediately see that members of the site are fierce advocates of it and will work to see it continue into the future. For more information, visit wtfcolumbia.com.