We recently had a news mention from the unlikeliest of venues – ESPN! I’m sure many of you will say the same thing we did: “ESPN, the sports network? How is that relevant?” Well, innovation is relevant in all avenues of life, and that includes business, leisure and professional sports. This brings us to ESPN, and the author’s interest in innovation, crowdsourcing and prizes.
The author begins the article with “top-tier surfing” contests at Bells Beach and Rio’s Billabong Pro, Lowers Pro’s “MVP,” Nike 6.0’s “Cash for Tricks” and Volcom’s “kick-flip on camera” challenge, where she has witnessed surfers driven to produce some “performance evolution” kicks, flips and other tricks. She notes that besides the adrenaline-rush and the chance to perform in front of their peers, cash prizes do not hurt in encouraging them to come up with innovative new moves. And why stop there she asks. Why not “ask” or crowdsource innovation within the rest of the surfing industry, like seamless, slimmer, resilient wetsuits and environmentally friendly and surfboard materials and a host of other inventions and enhancements.
Hence, the mention of InnoCentive, crowdsourcing and prize-based innovation; while the idea of prize-based innovation isn’t new, she credits the World Wide Web and InnoCentive with accelerating the use of crowdsourcing and cash prizes for "linking regular people with ideas to problems." Have a read – the article is so well written and you don’t have to be a surfer to understand and enjoy it!