Guide to Writing an Open Innovation Challenge
Crowdsourcing innovation is a cost-effective way to receive breakthrough ideas and solutions to important innovation challenges facing large, medium and small companies as well as not-for-profit organizations. Open innovation can be used as a tool to complement organizations' internal R&D at strategic times during the innovation process. It can also be used to find collaborators or recruit highly talented and motivated individuals who have proven to be capable of solving the companies' challenges.
We Bridge Innovation Inc. (WEBI) is a crowdsourcing intermediary that allows innovative companies to receive innovative solutions to their problems in exchange for cash prizes, great jobs or business collaborations. WEBI crowdsources innovative solutions in various disciplines including science, technology, marketing, education, policy and business. We do not charge absolutely any fees if the client (Innovation Seeker) is not satisfied with the submitted solutions.
WEBI's Open Innovation Products
WEBI offers four open innovation products:
These challenges allow the clients (Innovation Seekers) to find business collaborators, suppliers for their business or to recruit talented individuals. The Innovation Seeker should specify the type of relationship they are considering with the winning solver, i.e. whether they are interested in employment, consulting, internship, partnership, joint development, supplier agreement or other. Project location should also be indicated, i.e. whether the winning solver can work from anywhere in the world or in a specific location. Solvers are requested to submit ideas for solving the clients' challenges in the form of preliminary proposals. All solvers grant the Innovation Seeker a non-exclusive license to use their submissions.
Solvers are requested to submit innovative ideas for solving the clients' challenges. All solvers grant the Innovation Seeker a non-exclusive license to use their submissions.
The solutions need to include detailed descriptions and supporting information. Winning solver(s) grant the Innovation Seeker a license to use the submission or transfer any IP in the solution to the Innovation Seeker.
Solvers are requested to submit a detailed description of the solution and also to prove their concept by providing either a working prototype, or supporting data. Winning solver(s) grant the Innovation Seeker a license to use the submission or transfer any IP in the solution to the Innovation Seeker.
Innovation Seeker can indicate in the challenge description that:
- Partial awards may be given for solutions which do not fulfill all the requirements.
- Depending on the submitted solutions, a cash prize will be awarded to the winner(s) or the winner(s) will be invited to an interview or to start a business collaboration (or both).
Describing the Challenge
The following points are used as a guide in our Innovation Crowdsourcing Order Form to help the Innovation Seeker define his/her challenge:
Revealing Clients' Identity to Solvers
Our clients can choose whether or not they want to reveal their identity to solvers. Revealing company's identity might possibly alert competition to its activities. Keeping the identity of the Innovation Seeker confidential can be done by describing only the specific problem that needs to be solved without identifying the industry or the general area of the problem. We will not reveal the identity of the client if we are requested to do so. In fact, we have created a platform on our website for Innovation Seekers and Solvers to communicate with each other (in order to clarify any possible questions) without revealing each others' identity. On the other hand, revealing the company's identity to the solvers might be a great way of marketing the brand.
Assistance with Challenge Formulation
We offer free assistance with challenge formulation/editing. If requested, our staff of PhD-educated experts is happy to assist our clients. This service can be requested on our Innovation Crowdsourcing Order Form.
We offer four open innovation products: Innovator-Needed, Idea-Generation, Theoretical and Proof-of-Concept challenges. For Innovator-Needed challenges the Innovation Seeker should also specify the type of relationship they are considering with the winning solver and location of the project. Our platform supports flexibility when defining the challenge type. For example, for challenges in which the reward is a cash prize, the Innovation Seeker can indicate that partial awards may be given for solutions which do not fulfill all the requirements. Also, the Innovation Seeker can indicate that for these challenges, selected winners might be invited to a job interview or to start a business collaboration.
The submission deadlines are decided by the Innovation Seeker. For Idea-Generation and Innovator-Needed Challenges the submission deadline is typically 1 month while for Theoretical Challenges the deadline is about 1-3 months and for Proof-of-Concept Challenges the deadline is about 3-4 months.
Challenge Description and Solution Requirements
The following points help to describe the challenge and define solution requirements:
- Background and challenge description
- Solution requirements
- Some possible approaches
- Approaches not of interest
- Points that should be addressed in the proposal
- Project plan/time frame for implementing the solution
- Selection criteria, ex. effectiveness of the solution in solving the problem, cost, ease of implementation etc.
There is no lower limit on the award amount although in general higher awards will result in greater interest from solvers.
As mentioned above, it's possible that solvers may submit solutions which do not fulfill all of the Innovation Seekers' requirements but still provide valuable ideas or solutions. To reward those solutions, the Innovation Seeker may indicate in the challenge description that partial awards may be given. Also, for challenges for which the reward is a cash prize, some solvers may also be invited to an interview or to start a business collaboration.
Revealing Confidential Information
Challenges can be written in a way that does not reveal confidential information or identity of the Innovation Seeker. This can be done by describing only the specific problem that needs to be solved without identifying the industry or the general area of the problem.
All solutions are submitted on a non-confidential basis. Therefore, solvers may submit a provisional patent application before submitting their solutions to WEBI.