Thursday, November 14, 2013

Planning an Innovation Competition?

So, you have decided to hold an innovation competition and get some creative ideas from experts all over the world, or from specific communities of interest; or you might be using it as an indirect marketing tool to create awareness of your product.

The biggest issue I see with some of the innovation competitions, is the expectation the companies have from participants in terms of understanding long and complex jargon, so much that what they want participants to do almost gets lost in the long description. So, having a clear ask is a key, but that does not mean you cannot spice it up. Titles like “Your chance to design for your Olympic hero” or “Ever thought you would have a green idea?” can do the trick.

I believe whoever runs the innovation competition does not have an expectation to really get to a breakthrough innovation using the entries they get; but if they do, then they most probably, will not succeed. However; if they have expectations to find the ingredients, ideas, starting point of the thoughts which eventually result in some sort of innovation then they are on a right track.

Have you used innovation competition for marketing? If not, then you must. Companies are using it to cover many aspects of marketing. When someone is running an innovation competition, the first impression it sends out to the market is that the company believes in innovation. This subtle but very powerful message, then can take on a role of engaging the curious population; on the way it creates the awareness of the product or a service and then in the last it can also end up getting some good ideas, problems, improvement suggestions; which can then be taken forward by the company to make measurable difference to the bottom line.

Open innovation competition is far more suitable for fetching real innovations into the company and has a slightly different tone, in terms of formulating the brief. It also has different ways of reaching out and engaging the participants. While innovation competition would ideally have a cash reward, open innovation would also have a mechanism to license, buy or co-develop the solutions. Pointing out this little difference; that it is good to know what your goals are and accordingly make the right selection, organize and execute.

ideaken can help in running an innovation competition for your organisation.