Co-creating through Social Media Crowdsourcing

As previously published on the IMHA blog here

Developing an infographic with and for patient partners about conference abstracts by Dr. Dawn Richards

The research and scientific worlds are full of processes and protocols that most people in these worlds take for granted. One of these items is the conference abstract. If you’re not in the research world, how would you describe a conference abstract to someone outside of research?

In planning for the Canadian Arthritis Research Conference 2022 (CARC), the Steering Committee created a new category of abstracts, those prepared and submitted by patients. The idea is to encourage more patients to submit abstracts for consideration to the conference, but how can you do that if you don’t even know what an abstract is? What happened was an organic process:

  • I put out an initial call on Twitter from @TO_dpr, and asked patient partners to let me know if a resource or tool helping people know more about what abstracts are would be helpful. The overwhelming response was ‘yes.’
  • Next, I drafted some text that described what an abstract is, what it’s used for and what the parts of an abstract are. My goal was to help demystify abstracts.
  • Back on Twitter again, I followed up my original tweet and asked people to comment on the text for me via Google Forms, so that we could ultimately create something that was useful to patient partners. Through Google Forms I collected responses from 17 individuals, and incorporated their feedback into the text about abstracts.
  • From there, my communications colleague helped to put the text into an infographic that made everything feel simple and uncluttered.
  • I circled back to everyone who provided me with input – to let them know how they contributed, and where they can find the infographic, and if they wanted to be thanked, they are acknowledged on the infographic itself.

View the full Infographic in English here: Infographic_Abstract Preparation for Conferences and in French: Infographic _ Abstract Preparation for Conferences _FR

Within a matter of weeks, we went from having an idea about a resource on conference abstracts to having an infographic about conference abstracts created with input from patients. Engaging patients to co-create resources doesn’t always need to be a large, formal project. Our little project shows the power of taking a fairly simple idea, crowdsourcing input from patients through social media, and then putting that input in to action to create an infographic that anyone can use. We hope knowing this helps you with any of your co-creation projects – from big to small.