How to Optimize your Idea Competitions to get High-Quality Ideas.

In the previous blog post, we laid out the concept behind in-house innovation competition and the benefits that come with it. Now, we will give you a few useful tips on how to manage the contest to assure high-quality ideas are born.

So, are you ready to go on an idea-hunting mission?

If you already picked a suitable innovation management platform to get you started, it is time to plan your first idea contest. In order for the competition to yield high-quality ideas, there are a few rules you should follow.

Seven Tips That Will Make Your Innovation Contest a Success

We dug into Harvard Business Review articles and scholarly literature and noted down seven tips on how to ensure satisfying idea competition results:

1. Create a Goal-Oriented Mission
Make sure that the focus of a mission is on a specific problem to be solved. Open-ended challenges may give ambiguous results, so it is better to frame the competition around a precise need that your company has. This way, you increase the chances of submitted ideas delivering concrete and applicable solutions.

2. Ensure a Transparent Process
Communicate clearly every step of the idea competition process. Participants should know what actions are involved in each of the stages and what is expected of them. For instance, if your idea competition will have two stages of evaluation, you should clearly communicate it to the participants. Or if potential ideas will be rated based on the costs involved, make sure employees know that beforehand.

3. Promote Interactive Feedback
Encourage other employees to give immediate, constructive, and actionable feedback to improve the quality of the initial idea. Research shows that comments on ideas from people who possess unique expertise and experiences can expand the pool of available knowledge, and consequently help to find the most innovative solutions.

4. Ensure Participant Diversity
Try to involve a crowd from different departments, with diverse demographic backgrounds and cognitive characteristics. Not only it will broaden knowledge resources, but also prevent the silo mentality within multi-unit companies.

5. Appoint a Facilitator
Involve a facilitator who will give prompt feedback and make connections between submitted ideas. Seeking and promoting links between ideas and keeping contestants engaged can effectively increase idea quality.

6. Give Access to Relevant Materials
Provide employees with corporate resources and assets. If participants integrate existing knowledge into their submissions, there is a likelihood their ideas will be more fitting and to-the-point.

7. Launch, Analyze, Improve
Be patient and learn from the process. Even if you plan the idea contest very well, it might not lead you to substantial results straight away. Do not get discouraged and take time to analyze its development. Use the learnings to improve your next idea competition. After all, it is not only the organizer who learns how to navigate the idea competition, but also the employees who get more familiar with this form of open innovation.

Internal idea competitions are a great way to take the organizational innovation culture to a new level. Using the creative potential of employees can do magic both to the company's competitive advantage and its working environment

Idea Competition in Your Ideanote Space

Use Ideanote features to achieve high-quality ideas in your idea competition.

If you are an Ideanote user, you are in luck! All of the seven tips can be easily integrated into your idea missions. Here are the features that will help you achieve high-quality ideas in your Ideanote space:

Goal-oriented missions. We always encourage our users to base their missions on goal-oriented questions. When creating your idea contest (or a mission), you have the freedom to focus on a challenge specific to your business. However, if you need some inspiration, you can try one of our 100+ ready-to-use templates and get started in seconds.

Integrated transparency. Keep everyone in the loop. Ideanote gives you plenty of space to describe your idea contest, and set evaluation methods with rating criteria of your choice. See what happens to your idea at any stage of ideation.

In-built feedback phase. Ideanote is built around four main phases of ideation. In the second phase of collaboration, our intuitive onboarding process encourages your team to comment and evaluate submitted ideas, providing an opportunity for idea improvement.

Easy sharing. Generate custom links for every mission so you can collect ideas as fast and flexible as never before. Use it to ensure a wide diversity of participants.

Custom user rights. Ideanote makes it easy for you to manage members permissions. Use admin rights to appoint a facilitator, who will have control over your idea competition process.

Access to additional materials. Ideanote lets you add files, pictures and videos to your missions and ideas. Use it to give your contestants all the context they might need.

Automated Insights. The Insights dashboard gives you the analytics of your Ideanote space. You can break the data for each competition (mission) you run in to see the number of submitted ideas, contestants, and comments (and other interesting insights that will help you improve the process).

Ready to see it in action? Book a demo with our Customer Success team to get more help in launching an idea competition in Ideanote. We will gladly guide you through the platform, and answer any questions you might have.

Over to you. We can’t wait to hear about your experience in launching your first idea competition!

Sources:, Journal of Product Innovation Management.

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