The following post was written by Ben Sikora, a PhD student at Northwestern University and the first winning Connector from the InnoCentive Challenge Referral Program. Ben will receive a referral award for referring the Challenge “Games for Health: Inspiring Adolescents to take Control of their Health” to a relative who successfully solved it! If you want to become a Connector and earn awards for referring Challenges, simply visit any Challenge and look for the referral module to the right of the Challenge description.
In this day of age where communication between individuals has been reduced to writing on a wall, “chirping” about eating dinner, or telling the world how you feel, it’s hard to find other people you might think are suitable for solving hard problems. However, in my case, the lesson is simple: you don’t have to look that far. Those closest to you may surprise you the most. When referring people, it isn’t about who you think is the smartest, most innovative, or even most creative (even though these help), it is about the interests of the people around you.
I ended up referring my sister’s boyfriend (a game designer), my brother (a computer science major), as well as other family members (which includes a technical writer), and it ended up that this challenge really interested them. My last piece of advice is this: despite the money that could potentially be won from the Innocentive challenge, would the person you are referring enjoy working on that challenge just for fun? If not, then he or she probably is not a good person to refer to that challenge.