The University of Oxford has launched a new cloud-based open innovation platform to harness the ideas of staff and students to generate ideas for innovative digital projects.

Powered by Wazoku’s Idea Spotlight, the Oxford Ideas platform will request ideas in response to specific challenges posed. Oxford Ideas will initially be used for the IT Innovation Seed Fund challenge - part of the University's IT Capital Fund - which sets out to seed fund small innovative IT projects. Oxford Ideas will then be fully launched to over 40,000 staff and students next year.

Image credit: Oxford University Images/Nasir Hamid
Image credit: Oxford University Images/Nasir Hamid

“The University’s current and future IT strategy is wedded to IT innovation and we required a platform to bring all our ideas together for discussion and development,” said Dr Stuart Lee, deputy CIO for IT services at the University of Oxford. “Crowdsourcing ideas is a concept that we’ve been looking at for some time and Oxford Ideas gives us the perfect platform to do that. It allows discussion, comment and debate around ideas and as a cloud platform allows us to scale upwards as required.”

Each term will see a call for ideas that address challenges faced by the University of Oxford. A pilot scheme is underway and the plan is that next year will see the university run challenges for students for smaller projects that would then run for eight weeks over the summer.

“We have ambitious objectives for Oxford Ideas and are expecting high engagement across staff and students, with at least ten staff projects and five student projects funded by the end of the first year,” said Lee. “We also want to see evidence of collaboration across disparate units within the university. Wazoku’s platform allows and encourages this type of collaboration, and we are excited about what we can achieve.”

Wazoku’s Idea Spotlight software-as-a-service is also used by Aviva, Anglian Water, Capita, Hackney Council and other organisations. It allows communities to discuss and vote on the ideas submitted.