Open innovation injects new ideas into an organization by providing the ability for non-employees to submit concepts for consideration. The process relies on a pool of involved and enthusiastic contributors who want to participate in the process. The challenge is how to attract and engage these innovators in a way that sustains their interest and increases the quality of their submissions. Gamification is an excellent tool to achieve this goal.
Gamification is the process of transforming tasks or processes into a competitive process to engage users, solve problems, increase productivity, and drive innovation. It encourages ongoing participation, which keeps the open innovation ideas flowing.
The concept of gamification is part of our everyday lives, in that certain systems encourage our active participation. Examples include:
- Airline Frequent Flyer Programs
- Real-time Fuel Usage Tracker Apps
- One Day Sales
- Crosswalk Countdowns
- Credit Card Rewards
- Store Savings Apps
Each of these systems gives rewards for participation, whether it’s crossing the street safely or getting a free airline ticket. Depending on its goals, the process encourages loyalty or usage and increases engagement.
Gamification and Open Innovation
Companies that have gamified their innovation system found two significant benefits:
- Increased Participation
- Increased Quality of Ideas Submitted
There are several typical gamification processes that can be utilized to support open innovation systems:
- Points earned for submitting ideas or for having ideas accepted.
- Badges earned for reaching thresholds, either overall or in specific categories, such as ideas submitted, ideas accepted, ideas developed into a final product or process.
- Contests for submitting the best solution or idea to a specified problem or challenge.
- Leaderboards which identify the most active users and/or the most successful ones.
Some of these concepts are rewards in themselves, such as leaderboard placement or badges. With contests and points, an additional reward is required. These can be a simple as restaurant gift cards, or as creative as a 15-minute telephone call with the innovation department manager. Other ideas can include access to an online training course that is normally available only to employees or free admission to the next industry conference. Consider your audience, be thoughtful, and you may find many non-monetary giveaways that offer great incentives.
Successful gamification requires that you establish a system that is sustained over time. It should also avoid unintended consequences, such as submitting unrealistic ideas simply to be at the top of the leaderboard. When using your OI gamification, consider these elements:
- Cleary define the objective of the OI process and what you accept as appropriate participation.
- Target Audience. Know who you want to attract and what motivates them to structure a system that attracts and engages them.
- Give your target audience a reason to participate. This should include the short-term benefits of the game itself and the potential long-term benefits of the financial rewards of an accepted idea.
Open Innovation is growing in awareness and popularity, and more companies rely on this process to identify new opportunities. Get ahead of your competition by using eZassi’s gamification system to attract the best innovators to your organization.