Crowdsourced Idea Convergence

Innovation Funnel

The determination of the best ideas goes through different phases. By clicking on the different parts of the displayed funnel, you can find out the most important information about the four phases of idea selection, namely idea generation, filtering, shortlisting and winner determination. On devices with small screens you can swipe the images horizontally to see the phases.

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The generation phase of an innovation contest results in a large pile of ideas that differ in terms of quality. The goal of the filtering phase is to identify efficient and effective mechanisms to reduce the submitted ideas to a manageable number that can reach the shortlisting phase. Especially in an innovation contest, where many ideas are submitted, it can be challenging to find a suitable method to reduce the amount of ideas. An efficient way to reduce the number of ideas is to establish hard cut-off criteria that facilitate the filtering process. The definition of hard cut-off criteria differs from contest to contest.

Figure 1 below shows an interface element from a scientific experiment. The displayed idea includes an idea title, a detailed description, a design sketch and the respective ratings by other evaluators, like the number of “applauds” given to an idea or the idea score. The experiment was about a virtual idea contest where the evaluators (the experiment participants) could filter out ideas. As the contest in the experiment had many submissions but too little time available for the selection of the best idea, the virtual contest organizers had to come up with meaningful hard cut-off criteria to reach a manageable set of ideas that could be analyzed in depth. Therefore, the evaluators in the experiment used designated software to access the ideas and determine if the submissions suffice the contest criteria. One cut-off criterion was “form completeness”. During the submission phase, ideators had to fill in different fields in a designated form to describe their ideas. In case any of the required fields was left blank, the idea was automatically eliminated. The organizers aimed for complete ideas, which means that ideas that do not include all the relevant information required, are immediately excluded. Due to the fact that all ideas were stored in a database, the elimination could be executed efficiently and effectively.

Another cut-off criterion was the uploaded design sketch. Since the underlying contest was a design challenge, ideators were asked to also upload their design to illustrate the proposed solution. Every idea that did not include a design was immediately eliminated. In a consecutive step, the selection was further narrowed down through the elimination of those pictures that were very simple. In line with the opinion “a picture is worth a thousand words”, the contest organizers used this cut-off criterion to select those ideas that included detailed designs, which could be further pursued.

Figure 1: Example of idea with related components

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