We are excited to announce the addition of OmniCompete to the InnoCentive family. Best known for its annual Global Security Challenge, OmniCompete has executed nearly two dozen high profile Challenges throughout its history in the areas of security, energy, healthcare, and cloud computing. This addition helps create a richer portfolio of offerings for customers and exciting opportunities for both InnoCentive and OmniCompete Solvers.
We asked Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive, and Simon Schneider, CEO of OmniCompete, to share their thoughts on the acquisition and what it means for Seekers, Solvers and the overall open innovation landscape.
Why did InnoCentive acquire OmniCompete?
OmniCompete has played a significant role in establishing the Grand Challenge category – finding big solutions to daunting, world changing problems. Under Simon’s leadership, they’ve done very well. They’ve been aggressively expanding their name and presence in Grand Challenges and building their business in the United States and Europe. Their heritage in security, the leadership they bring to Grand Challenges, combined with InnoCentive’s Challenge platform; capabilities and experience create substantial value for our customers. Culturally, the OmniCompete and InnoCentive teams share the same vision of innovation being transformative for organizations. There’s a tremendous coming together of the minds that is good for companies and customers – it’s good for everyone. It was an easy decision from our end.
As the prize industry matures, we’ve noticed that clients are becoming better informed and increasingly requesting specialized services. At OmniCompete, we’re very good at these front-end services: custom consulting, design, marketing and branding, but we need to reach more Solvers. This is where InnoCentive excels, so the joining of our companies will mean a one stop shop for clients. Our work is about problem-solving, and above all we are client-driven, so with this acquisition our whole team is looking forward to being able to give our clients more. It’s never an easy decision to sell a company that you started from nothing, but we see this as the beginning of a lifelong partnership, rather than an exit.
What does the acquisition mean for Solvers?
InnoCentive Solvers will have now additional Challenges to undertake and more world changing problems to work on. OmniCompete’s strength in connecting Solvers to end users and investors is demonstrated by the $117Million that winners and finalists have generated through complex Challenges with multiple stages. Solving more end to end Challenges, creation of business plans and non-monetary competitions may create additional opportunities for Solvers to gain value outside of monetary awards.
We’re excited to invite OmniCompete’s Solvers to become part of our combined, richer global Solver community. In addition, InnoCentive’s traditional Solver base will have more direct access to a number of Challenges that OmniCompete has underway, including a new Challenge about urban design. The OmniCompete Challenges will be listed on our site very soon.
Our Solvers are part of OmniCompete family, and we strongly believe that the relationships built during a competition should not end after the prize is awarded. We keep in close contact with our Solvers, particularly with previous finalists and winners, and will continue to do so. We particularly look forward to merging OmniCompete and InnoCentive communities; giving our Solvers more opportunities to share their innovations and apply their expertise to new Challenges.
Will InnoCentive Solvers see any difference in the way they work on Challenges?
There will be no change to our Solvers in how they work on current InnoCentive Challenges. In the coming months we’ll be featuring the OmniCompete Challenges on our site, so that Solvers can work on them the way they’ve worked on any other InnoCentive Challenge.
What does the acquisition mean for InnoCentive Seekers?
For organizations that want to build larger custom programs, from biomarker programs or ambitious product development efforts, to solving world hunger, this acquisition allows them to engage InnoCentive much more broadly.
Customers will have access to enhanced services and experts, to ensure that they can not only run the Challenges they’re used to running, but also grand Challenges on the same platform, using the same methodology and with world class service.
OmniCompete also has very successful systems in place that combine broad expertise in competition design with delivery mechanisms including custom web sites and a global outreach - custom marketing campaigns, event series, PR, to name a few. Certain of these elements can be accommodated on our platform and certain will become new capabilities for our customers.
Simon, what opportunities will this create for OmniCompete’s customers?
Perhaps the most exciting aspect for our clients is the expansion of our team. Combined, we have several offices worldwide with plans for further expansion, giving more clients local representation. Our clients will also benefit greatly from InnoCentive’s many in-house experts and their experiences in certain types of Challenges, such as predictive analytics.
How does this acquisition fit into InnoCentive’s long term plans?
InnoCentive is committed to bringing our vision of open innovation to customers in every industry and sector. This is the next step in bringing a world class capability into our product portfolio so we can create more value for our customers.
Will there be other acquisitions in the near term?
We clearly see areas where companies provide highly valuable and critical services to enable open innovation. We believe that a number of these organizations could fill out critical areas in a broad product portfolio with end to end delivery of open innovation. We are always looking for opportunities to bring the best and brightest into the family.
Our interactions with InnoCentive throughout the acquisition process have been overwhelmingly positive. We’re looking forward to combining to create a strong team, and look forward to any future opportunities that would see us welcoming more innovative organizations to join the family.