Types of challenges

InnoCentive supports a wide range of Challenge types to meet both unique organization requirements as well as our Solvers’ appetite for variety and depth.

Whether the goal is general idea gathering and prioritization for marketers seeking to gain insight from customers, or complex technical or scientific problems that need to be solved in order to move forward with an important development effort, we have a Challenge that is suitable for you.

Ideation: The Brainstorm

A global collaboration for producing a breakthrough idea. This could include ideas for a new product line, creative solutions to technical problems, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea for recruiting new customers.

Ideation Challenges guarantee that at least one Solver will win an award. Additionally, the posting period is typically shorter than with other Challenge types, resulting in quicker time-to-solution. Ideation Challenges involve intellectual property licensing; a Solver grants the Seeker a non-exclusive license to use solution, awarded or non-awarded.

Theoretical: The Design

A feasible design that may not yet be reduced to practice. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver’s concept with detailed descriptions, specifications, supporting precedents, and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product, technical solution, or service.

A Solver can expect a substantial financial reward if their submission is chosen as the winning solution by the Seeker, but an award need only be made if all the Challenge criteria are met. Depending on the Challenge requirements, Solvers will be required to either transfer or license the IP in their solutions to the Seeker.

Reduction to Practice (RTP): The Prototype

A prototype that shows an idea in actual practice (though on a non-commercial scale). In an RTP Challenge, in addition to a detailed description, Solvers are asked to present physical evidence that proves their solution will work within the Seeker’s specific needs, decision criteria, or manufacturing parameters. Solvers are given more time to generate data needed to support their proposals and prepare a response, and the financial awards are typically larger to reward the greater commitment required to work on these Challenges.

Like the Theoretical Challenge, an award need only be made if all the Challenge criteria are met. Depending on the Challenge requirements, Solvers will be required to either transfer or license the IP in their solutions to the Seeker.

Electronic Request for Proposal (eRFP): The Collaborator

A request for a partner or supplier to provide materials or expertise to help solve a business Challenge. Seekers use the InnoCentive marketplace to find businesses or consultants that have already developed the technology they need or have the experience to help them develop it.

Unlike other Challenges where a cash award is granted for the winning solution, eRFP winners typically negotiate the terms of the contract directly with the Seeker.

Prodigy “Big Data”: The Algorithm

A computational Challenge with an online scoring and feedback component. Also called Prodigy Big Data Challenges by InnoCentive, these are add-ons to Theoretical or RTP Challenges which enable Solvers to obtain objective feedback on the accuracy of their solutions relative to the Challenge requirements and to other Solvers. The accuracy of each solution is compared, scored, and published in a leaderboard format on the InnoCentive website. Solvers are then able to rework and resubmit their solutions based on feedback to see their status on the leaderboard change.

Many types of computational Challenges can be formulated to use the Prodigy online scoring system, including statistical analysis, predictions, and optimization of computer programs. Large financial awards for the winners of these Challenges are typical.