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Oxford harnesses innovation with new Cloud Platform

The University of Oxford (opens in new tab) has launched a cloud-based open innovation platform with the intention of harnessing the brain power of staff and students.

The educational institution hopes this will lead to the generation of ideas for innovative digital projects that address key challenges facing the University.

The platform is powered by software firm Wazoku’s Idea Spotlight (opens in new tab), a product that claims to help develop new products and services, engage employees, improve processes and increase efficiencies.

The Oxford Ideas platform, which will request ideas in response to specific challenges posed, will initially be used for the IT Innovation Seed Fund Challenge, part of the University’s IT Capital Fund which aims to seed fund small innovative IT projects.

The education provider hopes that the new platform will be launched fully to more than 40,000 staff and students in Hilary Term 2015, or the term that begins in January.

“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,” claimed Dr Stuart Lee, deputy CIO of IT services at Oxford University.

“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,” he added.

A pilot scheme is currently underway at the University and each term will see a call for ideas that address challenges it is facing. It is hoped that the Hilary term will see the organisation run challenges for smaller projects that would then run for eight weeks over summer.

“We have ambitious objectives for Oxford Ideas and are expecting high engagement across staff and students, with at least 10 staff projects and five student projects funded by the end of the first year,” claimed Dr Lee.

“We also want to see evidence of collaboration across disparate units within the University. Wazoku’s platform allows and indeed encourages this type of collaboration and we are excited about what we can achieve,” he added.