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ONEBUSAWAY
MOBILE CASE STUDY
IDEASCALE


OneBusAway is a platform that provides easy access to real-time arrival information for a
number of transit agencies in ...


3IdeaScale Case Studies
IdeaScale has been tremendously useful in helping us evaluate what do we do next and where
we pu...
4IdeaScale Case Studies
group, for creative ideas and sustainable solutions. In the context of employee engagement,
crowds...
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Case Study: One Bus Away

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OneBusAway is a student-founded platform that provides easy access to real-time arrival information for a number of transit agencies in the Puget Sound region. With high interest but limited resources, OneBusAway needed a method of not only collecting feedback but prioritizing that feedback to maximize the use of a small staff. In 2010, OneBusAway launched the IdeaScale platform to begin collecting and prioritizing feedback.

Read this case study to discover strategies and tips for:
- amassing thousands of suggestions
- prioritizing customer requests
- maximizing return on investment for developers implementing new features

Published in: Technology, Business
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Case Study: One Bus Away

  1. 1. 
 ONEBUSAWAY MOBILE CASE STUDY IDEASCALE
  2. 2. 
 OneBusAway is a platform that provides easy access to real-time arrival information for a number of transit agencies in the Puget Sound region (on the web, via text, over the phone, and more). With over 40,000 unique users across web-based OneBusAway tools and more than 50,000 downloads of the iPhone app alone, OneBusAway wanted to continue to grow its capabilities and features. However, OneBusAway was started, and is operated by, students at the University of Washington. With limited resources, OneBusAway needed a method of not only collecting feedback but prioritizing that feedback to maximize the use of a small, but brilliant, staff. In the summer of 2010, OneBusAway launched the IdeaScale web-based feedback platform to begin collecting and prioritizing feedback. A few months later, they introduced the IdeaScale iPhone feedback widget to their iPhone application that began amassing even more feedback. The OneBusAway users have generated a wonderful response for the creators of OneBusAway. In just a matter of months, OneBusAway has seen: • Over 1,300 active users of the feedback widget contributing to future OneBusAway updates. With thousands of actively engaged users, hundreds began to submit ideas, suggestions, bugs, and other feedback from within the application itself. • More than 1,000 votes in response to the 190 user-generated ideas. With so many new ideas pouring in from users, OneBusAway was able to identify which bugs, needs, and ideas were most pressing because other users responded to similar suggestions. This helped the select group of OneBusAway developers get to work on those features that had been prioritized by users. • Creation or implementation of several new OneBusAway features. Based on the suggestions, OneBusAway added several new elements to the application’s offering: including the ability to view a bus’s complete route, disabling the “no stops” feature, the user’s ability to identify erroneous estimates, and more . • Users are extremely satisfied with the feedback service. More than 36 people agreed with the comment that OneBusAway provides a great feedback interface. According to one user “In one word... AWESOME! In two words... The Best!!” According to Brian Ferris of OneBusAway, “OneBusAway originally conducted numerous interviews to identify core issues in a variety of focus groups, but we ended up with a huge list of potential features without any context for how we would prioritize those requests. So we were looking for a way to get maximum return on our investment of time for our developers. 2IdeaScale Case Studies OneBusAway Saving Time and Money with Clear Prioritization
  3. 3. 
 3IdeaScale Case Studies IdeaScale has been tremendously useful in helping us evaluate what do we do next and where we put our resources while also giving us insight into potential new initiatives.” Due to the IdeaScale widget suggestions, OneBusAway is now implementing new features including trip details and arrival notifications as well as many others in the queue. The OneBusAway app continues to grow in features as well as popularity. That’s good news for OneBusAway and their multitude of users. Check out the OneBusAway offering at http:// onebusaway.org. About IdeaScale IdeaScale has developed an idea crowdsourcing technology that empowers communities to drive innovation. The software allows organizations to involve people that matter to them by collecting their ideas and giving them a platform to vote. The most important ideas bubble to the top. Mobile Feedback A Pew Research Center study recently revealed that only 74% of American households still have landline service. Cell phones, however, are in their heyday with 82% of adults using a mobile phone*. The numbers officially reflect what many have been predicting for some time: there are more cell phones in the U.S. than landline phones and they are a rich avenue for connection. With so many people communicating over mobile phones and the proliferation of available mobile applications (total downloads from the App Store alone have exceeded 1 billion), it is important to maintain industry best practices in order to compete with the variety of other mobile applications available and jockeying for position. In their “Future of Application Stores” article, Forrester Research advises all mobile developers to “be prepared for realtime consumer feedback and anticipate next steps [...] Integrating live feedback should be the first step on your mobile application road map.” The IdeaScale iPhone widget allows users to seamlessly listen to your customers without interrupting the user experience. This allows adopters to both receive and respond to live feedback, which is the first step to a great mobile application. Crowdsourcing: why is it important? The concept of crowdsourcing was coined by Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson in the June 2006 issue of Wired Magazine. Simply put, it is when an organization looks to the public, or a wider
  4. 4. 4IdeaScale Case Studies group, for creative ideas and sustainable solutions. In the context of employee engagement, crowdsourcing can be an elective method for gathering suggestions on how to improve internal operations. The “crowd” in this case are the employees themselves, who are given the opportunity to share and rate ideas. While some see crowdsourcing as nothing more than a new marketing trend, it has proven to be both a strategic and viable problem solving model. The real value of crowdsourcing is that it leverages the “wisdom of the crowds.” When an organization identifies a problem and puts it out there, it is seeking to harness the power of collective intelligence and ingenuity. In many cases, crowdsourcing has provided higher quality solutions than ones that could have been developed in-house by smaller teams within the organization. How do you idea crowdsource effec@vely? Idea crowdsourcing takes the saying “two heads are better than one” and amplifies it. With today’s web technology it’s possible for millions of ideas to be heard and taken into account. To do idea crowdsourcing effectively, organizations must provide a meaningful opportunity for individuals to contribute. This means the issues have to be relevant and the commitment by the organization has to be real. Companies such as Amazon, HP and Doritos have idea crowdsourcing campaigns where they offer cash rewards for the best user generated advertising content. However, consumer marketing is only the beginning of what can be done. One of the most meaningful applications of idea crowdsourcing is for “open innovation” in research and development. For example, companies like InnoCentive use an online marketplace approach to bring together highly reputable organizations in need of innovative solutions, and potential problem-solvers from around the world. As many of the problems involve complex challenges in fields such as math, science, engineering and business, companies offer substantial financial rewards to winning submissions. This shows how idea crowdsourcing can help us address issues that really matter. Financial incentives, while helpful, are not always required to get the best ideas. When involving employees on matters of the workplace, participants will have a genuine interest in improving their own work environment. Providing them with the opportunity to share ideas and contribute to decision-making shows that an organization places significant value in its employees. Not only does this increase the employee’s personal investment in the organization, but it also represents the path towards more sustainable decision-making and development for the organization as a whole.

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