Discover new ideas

Challenge Designer.

The Challenge Designer tool is for deciding the content and process for a successful open innovation challenge. It helps plan crowdsourcing challenges, from setting objectives and asking the right questions to selecting winners.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”


This tool helps plan your crowdsourcing challenge logically and in the right order from setting objectives to selecting winners. Use the tool as a central process and document for use by members of the whole team that will run the challenge and commercialise its outcome. Designing the challenge could take up to a month and can be efficiently accomplished using two workshops – the first to find out where there are gaps or disagreements and the second to finalise the challenge having allowed time in between for research.

1. What are the objectives of your challenge?

If you communicate the objectives of our challenge clearly it is more likely to engage busy people. What sort of ideas or technologies are you looking for and why? How are you going to take the winning idea forwards?

2. What is your Interesting Question?

Effective challenges start with an Interesting Question. This needs to be interesting both to the Crowd to ensure enthusiastic participation and to the Challenge Holder to ensure enthusiastic acceptance of the winning ideas. The question needs to be jargon-free, compelling and 20 words or less. To write an Interesting Question start with ‘How can you help us…’. Interesting questions should neither be too broad nor too narrow in scope. See the Interesting Question tool for more.

3. How will you select the winners of your challenge?

You need to decide in advance how you will determine the best ideas or submissions. Voting is a key part of what makes crowdsourcing platforms work. Will you enable your community to vote for a winner or select a short list for them to choose from? What technical or business selection criteria will you apply? (See the PPP Filter for guidance).

4. Who will judge the ideas?

Creating a formal judging panel of senior stakeholders builds organisational commitment to your challenge and will support later stages of the innovation process. The panel shares decision-making and provides a useful source of expertise to draw upon throughout the challenge. It is crucial the panel is interdisciplinary in order to drive the ultimate success of the challenge, and as such teams will often be responsible for delivering the innovations that result.

5. What is your recruitment plan?

This is a key part of the process and much will depend on how successful you are at recruiting a knowledgeable but diverse crowd. Adapt the recruitment plan to recruit a representative audience based on the type of challenge. Those where you are targeting users/consumers (B2C) and those where you are targeting innovation partners in businesses (B2B).

6. What is the challenge process?

Will you ask one Interesting Question or more? Do you want a short burst of insightful conversation or a longer idea generation and selection process? For longer challenges, it is good practice to design a distinct series of phases. For example: Insights -> Ideas -> Idea development ->Voting. Now you decide when the challenge will start and finish. You are advised to include about a month for customisation and deployment of the platform and then up to a month to recruit and form a community and for people to learn how to use the technology.

7. How will you incentivise people to take part?

Many crowdsourcing platforms are gamified in that they have a leaderboard – a league table of active or successful contributors. This is created by awarding points for activities such as submitting ideas, commenting or voting on the ideas of others. What prizes or contracts (See Open Business Models for alternatives) will you offer to the winners? You need to publish these and your criteria for selecting winners on the challenge website at the start. Making the process transparent in this way motivates people to participate.



See Open Innovation Models for help defining the sort of innovation you seek in your challenges.

Use Network Builder to recruit an innovation network for your challenges.

Use the PPP Filter to create judging criteria for challenge responses.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.