Michigan State University empowers its employees to “make MSU better”
Introducing an open and collaborative Crowdicity community for faculty and staff to share their ideas helped this world-leading university access the collective knowledge, expertise and experience of their employees.
Helping bigger be better
With more than 19,000 employees, Michigan State University (MSU) is a huge, complex organisation that nevertheless retains a sense of community. With each employee able to submit and discuss ideas via Crowdicity, there’s almost limitless potential for innovation to help drive the university forward.
Every voice can be heard
Gathering and managing ideas in a large multi-site organisation is a challenging task. MSU’s management team wanted to encourage more staff to share their views, feedback and insight, but there was no straightforward process in place to do so. Inevitably, many ideas were lost along the way. They needed a single place where ideas could be shared, discussed, developed and adopted; a space that was central, open and manageable.
Strategies for success
Launching MSU Ideas to such a large audience at once was a bold move. The MSU executive team worried the platform might be ignored, or would encourage complaining. They mitigated that risk by running roadshows across the university persuading key stakeholders of the benefits of a virtual conversation platform for generating and discussing ideas. Internal feedback helped make sure the initial challenges posed were relevant and impactful, to give the platform a strong starting point. These strategies have paid off with strong engagement and adoption, and MSU Ideas is flourishing.
When we’re considering making changes with widespread impact, it’s only right that we also ensure there’s widespread engagement within our employee community. Our goal is that everyone working here is able to have their say, so we’re leveraging this technology to help facilitate the conversation.
A connected community
To ensure accountability, faculty and staff create a profile and post under their real names. It means discussions are positive, productive and easy to moderate, leading to actionable solutions and measurable progress. The user profiles include photos, which encourages more face-to-face networking between colleagues and helps a large organisation feel smaller and more connected.
Big ideas have big benefits
This new way of working is inclusive and empowering: everyone is able to add their ideas and take part in the conversation, easily connecting to colleagues across the university. It’s a democratic approach that drives real engagement: hundreds of users are submitting ideas, commenting or voting on others’ contributions and even taking their discussions offline.
MSU Ideas has embedded a culture of innovation throughout the university, allowing it to move forward in all sorts of areas. A diverse range of innovations are already in development and are set to have a major impact at MSU. Thinking long-term, they hope one day to expand the platform to include the 50,000+ MSU student community, a huge pool of talent.