When you set up your first open innovation challenge, it can be difficult to know where to start. Being clear on your goals and good communication with your users should be the cornerstones of your project.
A question popped up on our twitter feed recently:
I chipped in with 3 basic suggestions: keep it simple, have clear objectives & feedback to users.
That got quite a few retweets; so in the hope that the advice might be useful to others, I’ve expanded this simple advice here:
The projects that are most likely to succeed are those that have clear objectives and goals. Before you embark on your first innovation challenge take some time to consider what success would look like to you: what do you want to achieve? By when? Are you looking for high levels of engagement? Or is more important for you to have well developed ideas at the end of the challenge?
In most cases, you’ll be after both quantity and quality of ideas, but ask yourself what your priorities are: why are you running the challenge in the first place? If you are struggling to pin down your objectives, follow the ‘SMART’ rule: targets should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-specific . Having clear objectives makes it easier to plan your challenge and gives you a measure for success.
Keep it simple
If this is your first innovation challenge, then it’s a good idea to keep it simple for you and for your users. Crowdicity offers a wealth of options to customise and tweak your challenges in order to suit your project, but for your first outing, you may find it useful to strip it back to the fundamentals.
Starting with a standard challenge (no extra stages or deadlines etc) allows you and your users to get a feel for the both the practicalities of an innovation challenge and of the ethos of your community.
Likewise, I’d recommend that for your first challenge you keep the idea form short and sweet; the quicker it is to post, the more ideas you’re likely to get!
Feedback to users
Feedback is a crucial element of any innovation challenge that you run, but it’s especially vital for your first challenge. From the get go, users should feel as though they are being heard, that their contributions are appreciated and have an impact.
It’s all too easy for an innovation community to end up being little more than an online suggestion box, users post their ideas but then never hear anything about them ever again. Here are some quick wins to keep your users engaged:
- Send community branded emails from the system to thank the community for their contributions and to spotlight particularly good contributors.
- Comment on users’ ideas: thank them, ask additional questions or mention other people who may be interested in the idea. In short, show that you are interested in the ideas that are posted in your challenge.
- If you decide to put an idea into action, let the community know! Users should feel as though their ideas can have a real impact, if they don’t they will lose interest in the challenge and the community.
There can be a lot to consider when launching your first innovation challenge, but if you lay your foundations on these three principals, you’ll be off to a great start.