Harness the Creative Problem-Solving Power of Your Employees Through Crowdsourcing

Article | Accountability Insights

by | Jun 6, 2019

Generate innovative solutions for every problem — from sales strategies to branding initiatives — with the advanced crowdsourcing capabilities of Propeller, our digital platform for leaders and teams.


Businesses today cannot afford to continue creating solutions in the same tired, inefficient processes. In competitive markets dominated by boundary-pushing technology, rapid rates of change, and consumer demands that continue to increase speed to market, businesses are forced to “adapt or die.” Adapting effectively and delivering on topline results requires agile teams using improved problem-solving processes.

Though digital project management and workplace communication tools proliferate, many of the most popular — including Slack, Glip, and Monday — don’t include features that facilitate highly effective group problem-solving. Creative problem-solving today requires both a forum in which every employee on a team can voice their ideas, no matter their position in the organization, and a structured approach that allows team leaders to evaluate solutions in order to decide the best course of action.

We knew that solving the toughest problems facing modern businesses required a more comprehensive, team-oriented digital workplace tool. That’s why we created Propeller, a solutions-driven leadership and accountability tool for teams, providing teams of every size with an open forum for collaborative problem-solving to help them deliver powerful solutions at speed. Propeller enables users to gain full visibility into the team’s progress toward topline results, to facilitate open feedback between team members, to source solutions to any problem from colleagues across departments, and to learn how to harness critical accountability strategies to position the team for sustained success.

Crowdsourcing Better Solutions With Propeller

The Solve It module of Propeller empowers employees from every level of your organization to source solutions to problems they’re grappling with at work. With a user-friendly, gamified interface, “Solve It” creates an anonymous, egalitarian playing field that encourages all employees to troubleshoot collaboratively.

Propeller users can post any workplace problem on the platform, to which colleagues can then anonymously propose potential solutions. Through a system of social ranking based on user votes, the best solutions will be prioritized in the poster’s interface. When the poster settles on the best solution, he or she can “close” the problem — and the user with the winning solution will receive recognition for being a top problem-solver.

With four unique modular features, including a tab to post problems, a tab to submit suggested solutions to others’ quandaries, an archive in which to browse past posts, and a section to curate your top-priority posts, “Solve It” encourages collaborative, creative problem-solving across every level of a team or even organization. What’s more, when individual employees are offered visibility into how their direct involvement can drive effective, implementable solutions, they are inclined to take accountability for hitting Key Results. This, in turn, encourages deepened employee engagement and increased productivity.

With a user-friendly gamified interface, the Solve It module within Propeller welcomes all employees to own challenges facing the team or organization as a whole.

There are some of the key capabilities of Propeller’s Solve It module:

1. Develop Innovative Solutions Collaboratively

The Solve It module champions employees who take accountability to collaborate and offer effective solutions that contribute to high-level organizational success.

On the “Solve” tab, users find recently posted problems by others on their team. Users can view and rate solutions that others have submitted or they can propose additional solutions. Every team member can access solutions. Users earn points for offering solutions, gamification that encourages input from everyone on the team.

The module displays solutions by popularity, recognizes the ten “Top Solvers” on a leaderboard, and sends optional push notifications to sustain engagement.

With the recognition awarded by the leaderboard, participation in creative problem-solving is incentivized and championed, motivating deeper employee engagement and collaboration across departments. Further, thanks to the anonymity provided to the poster and to those offering solutions, all employees feel empowered to offer their suggestions without fear of judgment. Ultimately, the features of the “Solve” tab promote the development of solutions at speed and foster greater engagement, teamwork, and trust among employees.

2. Use the Resources at Your Fingertips to Source Innovative Solutions

In the “My Posted” tab, users can anonymously post a problem, challenge, issue, or obstacle they need to overcome and that they would like help resolving. As their colleagues send in their ideas, a solution stream appears alongside the problem in the form of a carousel. Users can “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” any suggested solution, creating a popularity ranking that enables users to sort solutions based on which hold greater promise in the eyes of the team. The solution carousel also allows users to sort solution ideas by most-recent and to filter the solutions they have personally submitted.

Users who post a problem choose when to close it. To close a problem, posters enter a statement indicating which solution or combination of solutions they have selected to solve the problem. The system then sends a “Problem Solved!” message letting everyone who participated know that they can now view the selected solution. At this point, users can still view the full carousel of ideas that were submitted, but no more new ideas are collected. 

The “My Posted” tab enables users to keep track of the issues to which they’ve crowdsourced solutions, and also allows them to re-open a “solved,” or closed issue if new solutions are needed. This visibility provides employees with confidence that creative problem-solving is an effective tool by which to solve the organization’s most pressing problems and advance desired results.

3. Celebrate Problem-Solving Successes

The “My Solved” tab allows users to view archives of the problems they have posted in the past, including all proposed solutions. If necessary, users can reopen previously closed problems to gather further input from their colleagues.

By archiving a user’s posts, My Solved creates a log that builds institutional memory. This can be a reference point of the progress a team has made over a span of time, to demonstrate to others a strong history of collaboration and creative problem-solving, and to browse past solutions when a similar problem arises in the future.  

4. Maintain Visibility Into Progress on Your Top Priorities

Given how the modern-day businessperson must divide their attention across platforms, divisions, and tasks, “My Following,” the module’s last tab, ensures that Propeller users never miss an important problem-solving development, consolidating priority posts and streamlining Solve It activity.

Users can elect to “follow” any problem when it is posted, creating a customized stream of active posts in My Following, where users can monitor the problems they are most interested in and immediately view new proposed solutions to these problems. This feature helps users stay accountable to key issues by focusing their attention and prioritizing their top concerns, allowing employees to curate a personalized knowledge base of problem-solving activity.

Creative Problem-Solving for Better Results

Propeller’s Solve It module offers an alternative to the in-person board meeting, empowering all employees to engage in collaborative, creative problem-solving. Using a crowdsourcing tool like Solve It can help your organization develop better solutions in real-time, giving you the competitive edge of fast innovation.

At the same time, it creates an opportunity for every employee to contribute to solutions that matter — and see how their input directly leads to better results. In this way, Propeller’s Solve It module has the power to inspire higher levels of positive accountability across the workplace.

Together with the functionality of Propeller’s other modules, the crowdsourcing capabilities of the “Solve It” module can help your organization develop better solutions in real time, promote achievement of Key Results, and position your organization for success in competitive markets.

Want to crowdsource more effective solutions, increase employee productivity, and achieve higher rates of organizational accountability? Download Propeller today to explore the features available within the app.