innovation lab

Crowdsourcing Innovation

Ideation Platforms – Use a digital platform to get the benefits of crowdsourcing innovation either internally, or with the public. Ideation is a new twist on the old ‘suggestion box’ that gives ideas way more visibility to ensure they get discussed and enhanced through collaboration, rather than gathering dust. More ideas means more innovation and digital platforms like Idea Scale provide a way for ideas to get shared, critiqued and implemented.

  • Innovate ITD! SharePoint Site – To make innovation easier, the Innovation Team created a web platform using SharePoint that functions as a digital suggestion box. The form used for the idea submission requires submitters to quantify impacts in terms of hours saved or dollars. An auto-reply email goes out to the person who submitted an idea through SharePoint, encouraging them to reach out to their innovation stewards.
  • Ideascale: Caltrans uses a third party digital platform called Ideascale to help its 20,000 employees innovate. The Ideascale-hosted website give employees at any level a simple 24/7 way to submit, comment on, and vote for ideas. At Caltrans, the Ideascale system is used to select innovations with the most votes for further evaluation and implementation. The idea of crowdsourcing innovation came in part from efforts to learn from how innovation works at tech businesses in California’s Silicon Valley.
  • Innovation Fund - The City of Los Angeles created its first-ever Innovation Fund. The $1 million fund is designed to provide one-time funds to City departments to test new ideas that could make the City work better. The Innovation Fund supports projects that haven’t been tried in Los Angeles before, that increase efficiency, improve quality of life, and that are feasible and measurable. The fund is managed by the City of Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission, which is dedicated to improving the responsiveness, efficiency, and quality of City services. The Commission makes recommendations on the use of the Innovation Fund and sponsors awards that recognize innovation within the City. All city employees and city commissioners can submit an idea through the web portal at


The New South Wales Innov@tion Initiative is a way for the public to submit innovative solutions to reduce congestion and improve travel times on 100 major roads.  As of August 2016, the site had received 50 innovative solutions.

IdeaHub, which was started in August 2010, allows USDOT employees “to rate, discuss and improve upon innovate ideas to help make the Department a top flight 21st-century agency that is…adaptable, creative and enterprising.”