As a company founder and leader, I know how helpless it feels to be stuck at home, worried about protecting your loved ones, your employees, your business in the midst of the unprecedented situation we are in today with COVID-19. We do all we can to reassure the people we feel responsible for. To preserve and rethink and adapt our business strategies to what’s being called the new normal. Bottom line though, no matter how hard we try or fast we scramble, we don’t know how this is going to play out. It’s a tough place to be in, especially when you’re used to bringing hard problems to resolution every day.
Given how many of us are feeling, I wanted to share news of the targeted action our OA Collective members, all leaders in the future of work and open talent industry, are taking to help bring an end to COVID-19. These future-of-work experts—the companies that provide the open-talent platforms, and the companies that utilize open tools—already have a global infrastructure of talented problem solvers in place. Here’s how they are partnering with that talent to help crush COVID-19.
“Economic uncertainty may be the new norm, but even with this traumatic global disruption, technology innovation is alive and well,” says Michael P. Morris, CEO, Topcoder. “Amidst the anxiety, the supply chain of virtual on-demand talent, providing fuel to spark continued ingenuity and inspiration, is fast-tracking solutions and bringing things to market that will improve lives and keep the economy going.
Topcoder has launched the Topcoder Anti-Coronavirus Hackathon, using the Global Coronavirus Dataset, to develop a new app, algorithm or website to help government, organizations, or individuals during this unprecedented era (e.g., infection tracking/notification solutions, online medical consultation platforms, etc.). In 72 hours from launch, Topcoder’s Anti-Coronavirus Hackathon challenge topped 115+ entrants and 12+ technology solutions from around the world, demonstrating the collaborative nature of humanity to address a shared invisible threat. The challenge closes March 26. Winning solutions will be announced March 28, as will anticipated plans for development.
Topcoder has also quickly responded to an increase in calls from companies of all sizes and geographic locations needing to work with on-demand technology talent to keep their businesses moving forward by building an online presence. Entrepreneur Soofi Safavi, for example, used Topcoder to bring Wizard.fit, an integrated fitness application, to market in only 10 days.
Maven, a high-end expert network that was already managing its team 100 percent remotely, has experienced an influx of inquiries during this time, many of them centered on solving problems related to COVID-19 issues. Wyatt Nordstrom, Founder and Chairman of Maven, said they are offering their services gratis to any public health agency or organization involved in the fight against the virus—the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, etc.
John Healy, Vice President and Managing Director, Kelly Services, says Kelly Education is supporting its substitute teachers by strategically partnering with the app Moonlighting so families can hire qualified educators to tutor students. All participation fees are being waived and the income will go directly to the teachers. This will support the teachers, and the parents, until schools reopen.
Healy also says that Kelly Services, as the lead sponsor of iPSE-US, advocated for independent workers through the stimulus legislation, creating a “paycheck protection program” for small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers, with $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wazoku and InnoCentive
The idea management software company Wazoku and InnoCentive, an on-demand talent platform are running several COVID-19-related crowd competitions, with more detail here. One project is a COVID-19 open innovation pavilion and offering to run relevant challenges for companies, governments and NGOs. One of the successful projects thus far has resulted in a faster path to create ventilators, says Simon Hill, CEO of Wazoku. Go here to find more information.
“We at Verblio are working on guiding our customers and writers on getting tone right in your content and marketing at this critical time,” says Verblio’s CEO Steve Pockross. “The wrong word can make your marketing come off as obtuse or thoughtless.”
Verblio tapped it’s platform community of content experts to create an educational blog post on six best practices we implementing as a company to keep a mindful tone in times like these, and is creating a video series offering tips from marketing experts on best practices in managing an agency through times of crisis.
Verblio has been working with its platform community of content experts to emphasize the importance of a key tenet of content marketing: Giving. Generosity is not a differentiator now. It’s table-stakes. We are helping our clients understand the programs they need to offer now in order to support their clients. Content itself is education. Millions of people are at home, searching for information and resources. Right now is the time to offer online courses and give away services for free or at a discount. Put the pen to paper to share what you know.
Jesse Arundell, Executive Manager, Emerging Technology and Innovation at Commonwealth Bank of Australia says Commonwealth Bank kicked off an Innovation Challenge to help crowdsource ideas from across the bank to help its SME customers. They are also setting up an internal task marketplace for their employees to ensure that they can keep working on what matters, regardless of any impacts COVID-19 will have on their change portfolio.