Five Questions to Ask When Planning a Crowdsourcing Challenge

Know the keys to success in crowdsourcing challenges

Considering a challenge? While it may not be every company’s initial plan of action, it can lead to incredibly successful results and collaborations.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when deciding if you should launch a challenge.

1. Who is the crowd?

When it comes to a challenge, getting the best solution means getting the word out to the best crowd, and having a strong network for outreach is crucial. This is why companies that want to run a challenge seek the help of yet2 – we have an actively connected global network and know how to find the right audience, whether that be lone inventors, universities, corporations, startups or even teams.

Once you know who your target audience is, how do you engage them in participating? Read on to Question 2.

2. What can we offer to attract submissions?

It’s no surprise that stakeholders hear the word, “prize” and associate that with, “money,” but not every challenge ends with a purse.  Some companies may choose to offer development support in the form of manpower, access to tools and know-how or an option to license. No matter what you award the winners, it is important to set incentives that both entice qualified submitters and provide the challenge sponsor the latitude to engage with winners in a beneficial way. Since there is no guarantee or control over the amount or quality of submissions, it’s up to the challenge sponsor to create a structure for awards that work.

The host of the challenge should also understand that most submissions include solutions that may not be fully designed, ready-to-go concepts. In that case, it is essential to plan for the continued development of winning submissions.

3. What is the level of commitment?

Don’t go running yet, you’re not about to wed a challenge for the rest of your life, but a challenge is also not a short fling. In general, most challenges will run a timeline of about 8-12 months (compared to the average tech search of around 3 months) depending on the size of the challenge. The longer process allows for ample time to create enough buzz for an extended global submission period, sufficient time to review and present proposals on a rolling basis, plan effective marketing campaigns to keep users engaged, and thoughtfully make final decisions.

4. How will we measure the success of a challenge?

Measuring the success of a challenge typically requires specific metrics that vary depending on what the company focus is. Is your emphasis solely on obtaining a final solution? Are you concentrated on the marketing aspect of reaching a certain audience? What impact does the future solution need to have to create positive ROI? Is your goal to bring together various areas of expertise and collaborate? Whichever objective, it’s crucial to lay out your goal(s) at the beginning of the challenge to ensure that you can create a clear runway to success.

5. Do we need a challenge or a technology search?

While it may seem like the most obvious question to ask, it is one that is often overlooked. While a challenge puts your goals and needs out into the market and seeks feedback or solutions, a technology search is a more private affair that proactively gathers information and insights from the market without advertising your interest. If you have done research and identified that there is interest in the market, you have defined a goal, and you are able to carry submissions to an impactful conclusion, a challenge may be the right direction. If, on the other hand, you are uncertain of the ability of the crowd to find, submit to and solve your challenge, or you need a better feel for the state of the current technology and major players in the field without advertising your interest to your competitors, a technology search may be more appropriate.

Another enticing component of challenges is the increased marketing presence in the media. With the opportunity for press releases, features, sponsors, social campaigns, and more, drawing attention to your challenge is a brilliant way to drive awareness to your company.

Expert Tips

  • Understand your short-term and long-term plans to set the strategy for internal stakeholders that should be involved in framing and executing your challenge. If there is a tough manager on the board for a challenge, arrange for approval procedures ahead of time to help the process run as smoothly and as quickly possible.
  • Don’t forget about IP. There are many ways to handle intellectual property interests, but ignoring the issue is not one of them.
  • Know your geographical regions and any privacy or data collection regulations that may come into play.
  • Determine a reasonable budget, and make allowance for emergency costs.
  • Don’t go it alone. A challenge can be daunting for first timers and having a partner for logistics can save time and money.

Interested participating in a challenge? Contact yet2 and learn more about your challenge opportunity!