As technology advances, more and more platforms are integrated to source out ideas.

People use different channels regularly, so a single platform may not be sufficient for a business to reach its target audience.

Hence, companies need to implement a multichannel idea challenge.

What is a multichannel idea challenge?

Basically, a multichannel idea challenge is a specialized type of ideation where a company discovers innovative solutions and insights across various channels by developing questions that are tailored for certain audiences based on predefined factors.

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Such channels may include:

1. Brainstorming: An ideation technique commonly done in groups to address specific issues and arrive at feasible concepts under various topics for future products, services, processes, and changes within the organization.

Brainstorming sessions can be:

  • Physical brainstorming: Includes holding sessions in person. 
  • Digital brainstorming: Uses virtual spaces in generating ideas. Three of the most powerful platforms for digital brainstorming are Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Boards.

2. Innovation software: Companies use innovation software to effectively gather, assess, select, and prioritize concepts for advancement and growth. With it, businesses can smoothly implement actionable ideas and achieve innovation success.

Some of the most trusted innovation software in the market are:

Accept Mission– A powerful innovation platform with beautifully-designed solutions that aims to take your innovation process to the next level.

Its most notable features include:

  • Live collaboration
  • Idea Management
  • Advanced gamification features
  • Innovation dashboard
  • Innovation management

Ideanote – A modern innovation software best for increased engagement and business growth.

This platform can help you best with:

  • Engagement tracking
  • Feedback management
  • Prioritization
  • Trend analysis
  • Workflow management

Idea Drop – An intuitive innovation management platform that helps large enterprises in executing the best ideas.

Some of its best features involve:

  • Reporting & Statistics
  • Forums
  • Evaluation management
  • Ideation
  • Idea ranking

3. Scouting: Innovation scouting is the process of acquiring knowledge regarding the location, sector, and income stream of other institutions as a way of finding external solutions for internal needs.

4. Internal research: Internal research refers to any systematic analysis of information, trends, materials, and other resources found within the organization.

External research focuses more on studying the written views, analysis, and work outputs of those who are not part of the company. 

5. Group meetings: Any gathering or assembly done for a specific agenda.

Steps to implementing a successful multichannel idea challenge

The goal of developing a multichannel idea challenge is to provide business value for either your organization or your customers.

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Here’s how you can achieve that:

1. Define your innovation goals

The first step is to identify and establish what you want to accomplish. Your desired results should work with your main innovation objectives and contribute to their fulfillment.

Start by letting your senior stakeholders participate in the creation of the activity and its goals.

Keep in mind that conducting a multichannel idea challenge requires resources, and your superiors can help you with that.

Once you have kept them in the loop, you can begin making your goals by providing answers to the following questions:

  • What key organizational issues should you focus on addressing?
  • Which of these issues need urgent care?
  • Which obstacles did the company struggle to find effective solutions for?

The answers to these questions should help you determine your expectations and outcomes.  Furthermore, they could also give you an idea of what factors may impede your progress.

2. Select the participants and the channels

After determining your goals and desired outcomes, identify your participants and preferred channel. Once you’ve chosen your key audience, it’s imperative that you inform them of your intentions, objectives, and needs.

If you’ve chosen to hold an internal ideation contest, make the challenge available for everyone regardless of their position and department.

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However, if you need only insights from specific people, like managers for instance, then you may limit your participants to the managerial level.

Depending on your needs, you may also limit the challenge externally to a certain industry or city.

When in doubt, ask yourself:

  • What kind of insights do I need?
  • Who do I get this information from?
  • How can I best reach out to them?
  • How do I get them to participate?

3. Determine the key performance indicators

Now, you have to identify the metrics that will allow you to assess the progress of your multi-channel idea challenge.

However, this section is a little grueling since most individuals will mention every sign they can think of, even those that aren’t truly relevant at all.

The key in choosing the most appropriate key performance indicators for the challenge is to refer to the goals that you’ve established in the first step.

Here are some of the factors that you might want to take into consideration while deciding on your indicators:

  • Number of new ideas gathered
  • Percentage of feasible ideas
  • ROI of potential projects from collected ideas
  • Projected profit growth from selected ideas

You may need to utilize an innovation dashboard to accomplish this efficiently.

Choosing and measuring the activity’s effectiveness through proper and relevant metrics is vital to the success of your future innovation plans.

With a dashboard in place, you may integrate information from appropriate sources and display the most significant benchmarks for you.

Furthermore, an intuitive innovation dashboard will enable you to generate reports and other business insights that you can subsequently present to your top executives.

4. Set up the multichannel idea challenge

Now that you’ve established your goals, desired outcomes, participants, channels, and KPIs, you’re all set to put up the idea challenge.

You may utilize a number of tools for this, including the Accept Mission platform, which offers a feature that allows users to host undercover missions where participants may enter their ideas and suggestions anonymously.

Alternatively, you might establish inboxes and allow your participants to freely send their ideas to the appropriate inbox.

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Whatever method you choose, the most essential thing is that the task be very defined. This means you’ll need to explain what the challenge is for, how to accomplish it, and what materials can your participants look into.

It’s also critical to construct a schedule and give a clear deadline. The timetable should include specific dates and durations for each stage of the process, including the execution of winning ideas.

Moreover, don’t forget to spread the word about the challenge to gain more participants. You can do this by:

  • Appointing challenge ambassadors
  • Choosing optimal communication methods
    • Email
    • Advertisements
    • Social media platforms
  • Company-wide announcement (internal challenges)

What matters here is that your participants become aware of the issue and understand how to participate in it.

5. Run and monitor the challenge

You can now start running the idea challenge. Remember that you have to effectively manage the engagement while the activity is underway.

Here are the most efficient ways to do it:

  • Respond to any queries and requests
  • Use an innovation platform with a real-time notification function to receive alerts for any submission
  • Get updates on the most liked and followed ideas by participants
  • Appreciate contributors for every submitted idea
  • Provide necessary feedback

Don’t forget to keep participants up to date on trends and campaign developments.

Furthermore, if you believe that any ideas may be improved, urge competitors to do so by asking the proper questions or providing them with recommendations.

6. Review and select the best ideas

Now that your idea challenge has concluded, it is time to properly study and evaluate the concepts submitted by the participants. Select the winners whose ideas best meet the goals and outcomes you’ve established in the first step.

Note that organizations may differ in ways and standards of assessing ideas. Consider the factors that are most valuable for your institution and develop guidelines from them.

Moreover, make sure that your criteria for evaluating submissions are aligned with your requirements, goals, and needs.

In Accept Mission, for example, you may define your own criteria for assessing and ranking ideas. You may then convene a focus group to rate submissions and eventually decide who won the idea challenge.

Acknowledge the winners and the reasons why their submissions were chosen.

You may begin by explaining how these ideas were evaluated and how these winning suggestions could help the company and its stakeholders.

Also, thank everyone who took part in the competition. This is critical so that people remain inspired to participate in your future idea challenges.

Don’t forget to report back to your top executives once you’ve done these steps. You may then proceed in putting the greatest ideas into action by converting them into projects and putting them on the company’s innovation roadmap.

Maximize your idea challenge by making it multichannel

Using several platforms for your idea challenge can help you reach out to the right people.

It can also help you increase the reach and frequency of the competition for increased participation and awareness.

Running a multichannel idea challenge isn’t all that difficult when you know what to do next and get the right tools for it.

If you want to know more about challenges and innovation campaigns, we actually got an ebook that will walk you through collecting and selecting ideas from a target audience.

Grab a free copy of it today and learn the phases of an innovation campaign and how you can use a tool like Accept Mission to facilitate the campaign.