Are You A Seeker Or A Solver? (You Can Find Out May 15 At The University of Pennsylvania)
Sounds like two characters in a Harry Potter novel, right? But Seekers and Solvers are actually two critical roles in open innovation tournaments. Challenges are presented by organizations, or well, anyone who has a tough problem. On one open innovation site problems include things like:
- Products that Enable The Elderly to Fulfill Their Potential (awards vary)
- Non-permanent Room Heating Solutions ($20,000)
- Measuring Weight of Live Animals ($50,000)
The third problem on the list above – measuring the weight of live animals first sounds like a problem that could be solved by anyone who is at least as smart as a fifth grader. But as you dig deeper, you learn that the solution calls for a portable device capable of a no-contact (from a distance) weight measurement for live pigs in a farm setting. You cant touch the pigs but you have to measure their weight.
Note the cash rewards listed to the right of each challenge. The rewards for solutions are often substantial because the benefits are tens and hundreds of times more valuable in many cases. Take Procter & Gamble, for example.
P&G raised the attention of the value of open innovation when they launched their Connect & Develop initiative to tap the knowledge of thousands of scientists around the world, rather than try to create every solution internally with the sizeable but limited team in their Research & Development function. With a goal to deliver a 7% increase in revenue annually, P&G knew success depended on widening the field of solvers they could turn to for pieces of the solution to what became the Swiffer duster with its dust lock adhesive and Pringles Potato Chips imprinted with jokes written in edible ink. P&G turned their challenges over to the world, and the world returned answers that contributed to billion dollar product lines.
Innovation tournaments, when done well, identify new paths companies might go down to launch new products and services, or take sizeable bites out of wicked problems, or identify thinking that helps them reshape the problem they thought they had.
On May 15, at the University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School, Christian Terwiesch, Professor of Operations and Information Management and author of Innovation Tournaments, will teach Chief Learning Officers and VPs of Talent Management how to tap into the power of Innovation Tournaments by having them participate in one. Prof. Terwieschs programs and tools, which are in high demand all over the world, prepare companies to lead effective innovation tournaments to tap into an unending source of potential for growth and business survival. Senior learning and talent leaders will take home Prof. Terwieschs book and success kits they can use to renew and improve the services they deliver internally, and to teach leaders how to execute innovation initiatives.