OpenVoice - Interactive Voice Response for Workers

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a semifinalist.

OpenVoice - Interactive Voice Response for Workers: Inclusive workplaces that openly communicate their values and strategies

Jakarta, IndonesiaBangladesh
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Transparent communication helps build trust: We have created a cost-efficient, scalable, standalone IVR system that can be deployed in any factory. This enables workers to access important information on request by calling, leaving voice grievances or participating in improvement-oriented surveys.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if an individual or collective voice can be heard through the supply chain, and this can be used to establish accountability and mutual trust?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Worker communication and outreach strategies from factory management are often ineffective. There is fear of repercussions for speaking out. Workers are subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse from their supervisors. Factory fires and building collapse are common, killing thousands of people. Building and fire safety standards are notoriously poor, resulting in preventable worker deaths and injuries with alarming regularity.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Using a 3D printer, we have created an off-the-shelf device which can be deployed in factories. This IVR is cost efficient and uses open-source software. The functionality will allow all ( illiterate and literate) workers to call in and use a touch response to multiple questions to retrieve information, as well as, enable callers to record responses, i.e., submit grievances. The ease of deployment and mobility of the systems enables simple installation for non-expert users . The information gathered through the IVR can be provided through an online dashboard, to enable management to communicate more effectively with their workers. This will provide analytic reports supporting decision-making for factories and brands alike.


An alternative variant of the system designed as a text-based mobile app (not an IVR) won the Palladium Global Initiative in September 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Workers call a phone number and enter a voice-activated menu, similar to a service center. The menu presents workers with audio prompts (using a human recording or speech synthesizer) and control logic suitable for a touch response to a multiple-choice question. This can include; HR Polices and Announcements, Best Practice Guidelines, Training Tips, Incentivized Surveys, Quizzes, and so on. In addition, the worker can leave a voice recording grievance. All this data is synchronized across different databases and presented as a unified interface to the management. Configuration settings enable users to create reports and customize the sharing of content with stakeholders; including the brands which source their products.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The project is the third product in a series of Springfield workplace innovations The first, was an SMS-based grievance and communications system for workers. This has been installed in 80 factories to date and reached 350,000 workers in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Participating factories have found improved compliance, workers better informed of their rights and better communication between workers and management. The second product is the mobile app variation, which will be deployed in Q1 2016. We intend to scale these numbers by reaching more sectors and global brands, focusing on the growing smart phone usage. The third product is the IVR; this targets the remaining mode of delivery 'voice'. Scalability will larger than that of its predecessors, because we have developed a cost-efficient tool that provides self-installation and simple use.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The private sector will drive expansion, as the units can be readily purchased and installed by factories, and can be supported by our help desk. Initially, our spread strategy is through our existing partner brands we can potentially target 500 plus factories in Bangladesh. Over time we expect other garment factories (about 3000 plus) to adopt IVR technology, as we highlight the changes in the workplace, through independent comparisons between factories with and without the IVR system. Data sets from programs like Better Work could form the basis of the independent assessments.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The key element to ensure the financial sustainability and scaling of this project is maximizing the established partnerships. We will continually be aiming to expand partnerships and share learning and practice in the deployment of the IVR. It is fundamental that we continuously identify factories and brands, which promote corporate and social responsibility. A pricing model will be developed to sell the application to stakeholders in 2016.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Various tools have been developed to provide workers surveys for brands using text messaging. IVR systems have traditionally been large mainframe servers used in other sectors, e.g. the service industry. Better Factories Cambodia used an IVR system to allow factory workers to call and take a labour law quiz. We are proposing a more simple cheaper approach to IVR using SIM cards. The device plugs into a power outlet, and it is ready to use after initial installation and configuration. The remaining features and upkeep are done through an online dashboard. We will produce and sell the IVR units.

Founding Story

David Shirley - the founder of Springfields had an initial interest in the application of technology during the redevelopment phase following the Aceh Tsunami in 2004. David worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Disaster Risk Reduction to communicate awareness to wide sections of the community. With the surge in mobile phone usage during these few years, he soon realized the opportunity to use innovation to reach a wider audience, whilst being more direct in its message. He applied this approach to various initiatives. Years later, this lead to him working on projects to improve information flows in the apparel industry with the Better Work Indonesia programme.


Springfields currently employees a team of 20 consultants and 10 full-time staff. All the team are continuously trained to be professional with a creative approach, ability to use innovative tools and learn traditional development and social advisory expertise. In addition to the plan, we will also create a simple mechanism to monitor project implementation performance against objectives. All those involved in project implementation (especially hired consultants) will report regularly on progress in completing required tasks, activities and outputs. We will utilize our existing Monitoring and Evaluation team working with Springfields to track this implementation under the supervision of the appointed Project Manager. The IVR designer team consists of three IT graduates, and one senior design faculty specialist from Bandung Institute of Technology who helped create our vision into a tangible product ready to enter the marketplace. Our Marketing and Communications team will focus on the factory and brand engagement once the product is prepared for wide-spread launch and distribution.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]


Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]


Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Auditors, Brands, Consumers, Corporations, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Technologists, Trading Companies, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Access to Finance, Access to Social Protection Services (i.e. Insurance, Pension, etc.), Accountability, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Gender Equality, Anti-forced Labor or Anti-Human Trafficking, Recycling or Circular Economy, Physical Working Conditions, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Data, Enforcement, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

I have communicated the opportunities to friends and colleagues.

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We will seek to obtain feedback from all stakeholders on the objectives and benefits of the IVR and try to achieve consensus.