Evaluating Solver Proposals

Posted by Beth Perkins on Mar 10, 2010 1:40:10 PM

We are currently experimenting with adding content that is also relevant to our Seekers. Even though this is more Seeker-oriented, we hope all our readers find these posts informative.


Evaluation of Solver Proposals is the most exciting, important and time consuming part of working with InnoCentive.  While you’re trying to determine the value of the Proposal based on its technical or business merit, you’re also trying to determine its novelty, strategic value, intellectual property standing and cost of integration.  To help with the evaluation, we’ve provided some helpful tips that have been time-tested by some of our most effective Seeker Clients.

Evaluation Tips

  1. Try to limit the number of people who review the submissions to protect yourself from IP contamination. Usually, the owner can make a first pass and filter out a number of the submissions that are not relevant or viable. Then a larger group can spend more time on the top tier Challenges
  2. Make a checklist of requirements so you can see which ones are met or addressed by the submissions. This will help differentiate submissions quickly.
  3. TAKE NOTES: good notes as you filter solutions will be very useful when you go to write evaluations later on. Otherwise you will end up having to re-read all the submissions because you cannot remember why you rejected it in the first pass. This will save lots of time.
  4. Usually, you can group them by approach as several will use the same type of approach even though they are very different. You can then pick the best one using that approach and put the others aside. Then you can compare the best of each approach.
  5. You may want to make a matrix or a spreadsheet listing the submissions, approach, requirements met, notes etc. This allows for direct comparison on one sheet.
  6. Talk with your InnoCentive IPM (Innovation Program Manager) before you make your final decisions to discuss. (Note: the Solvers will not see anything you do until the IPM approves your evaluations.

Evaluation Differences by Product Type

Ideation Challenges:

  1. You retain the rights to ALL solutions but must distribute the entire award amount.
  2. You just need to pick the winners and do not have to evaluate each non-winner. You should rate them with a number, but do not have to give reasons for rejection.
  3. You receive the contact information of all of the Solvers that are awarded.

Theoretical Licensing Challenges:

  1. The submission shall be evaluated on a theoretical basis only. You cannot conduct or require any reduction to practice or experimental validation of the proposal before a monetary award has been paid for the right to do so.
  2. You can choose whether or not to purchase any of the proposed solutions for the award amount.
  3. You will be granted a non-exclusive license to use any of the technology purchased.
  4. You must provide reasons for rejection as described above.
  5. You receive the contact information of all of the Solvers that are awarded.

Theoretical IP Challenges:

  1. The submission shall be evaluated on a theoretical basis only. You cannot conduct or require any reduction to practice or experimental validation of the proposal before a monetary award has been paid for the right to do so.
  2. You can choose whether or not to purchase any of the proposed solutions for the award amount.
  3. You will be granted Intellectual Property Rights for any of the technology purchased as submitted in the Proposal.
  4. You must provide a number rating and reasons for rejection as described above.
  5. You receive the contact information of all of the Solvers that are awarded.

RTP Challenges:

  1. The submission can be experimentally validated within the evaluation period.
  2. You can choose whether or not to purchase any of the proposed solutions for the award amount.
  3. You will be granted an exclusive license to use any of the technology purchased.
  4. You must provide a number rating and reasons for rejection as described above.
  5. You receive the contact information of all of the Solvers that are awarded.

eRFP Challenges:

  1. InnoCentive will provide you with all of the proposals and you may contact the individuals/companies that submitted them.
  2. You should discuss with the IPM whether you think you will or will not contact each Solver.
  3. Contact information will be included in each submission.

We hope that the tips and guidelines above will help you manage your process of evaluating the Solver proposals that you receive.  As always, if you have any questions or need further assistance during the evaluation stage, please contact the Innovation Program Manager that worked with you during the Challenge development process.  S/he will be able to provide further guidance so that you select the proposal that will add the most value to your organization.

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