October 10, 2013 | Leslie Brokaw
Contests can be big motivators for getting people to bring all their creativity to the table. The Oil Cleanup X Challenge, for instance, shows how an organization can generate new solutions to a known problem. Companies vied for a $1.4 million prize in 2011 to come up with a product to recover oil from the surface of the sea. The winner, Elastec/American Marine, is now preparing to bring its winning design to market.
In their article “Spurring Innovation Through Competitions,” Alan MacCormack, Fiona Murray and Erika Wagner detail E/A Marine’s journey in development.
“Innovation competitions represent a high-leverage tool that taps into powerful motivations to draw out disproportionate efforts from a wide variety of participants,” the authors write.
“Morale was very high,” CEO Donnie Wilson told Inc.com. “We asked a lot of people to get up early and stay late and work weekends — but it was still easy to motivate people to be involved.”