Crowdsourced Problem Solving // Challenge Sponsors Guide


The Challenge Sponsor is the customer of your Crowdsourced Problem Solving Service. Your job is to create a Solve Challenge that delivers solutions to a problem that he/she faces. Your sponsor is responsible for providing the resources and budget for implementing the solution.


This guide will help you identify potential sponsors in your company, connect with those target individuals, and initiate outreach meetings. Ultimately, you want to build a rich pipeline of potential sponsors for your service.

 

 

CHALLENGE SPONSOR KEY TRAITS
As you build your list of potential sponsors, focus your attention on individuals with the following qualities:

  • Operating in Technical Departments like Manufacturing/Production and R&D/Development. 
    Go to where the action is! Divisions responsible for tough, technical work tend to often face problems that Solve Challenges can help address:
  • Already Have a Known Problem they Need to Solve.
    Find an executive with a ‘burning problem”, who will benefit immediately from fresh thinking around potential solutions.
  • Has the Resources to Implement Solutions.
    The Sponsor must commit to implement the solution, once one is identified that meets his/her requirements.
  • Bigger is Better.
    Seek out sponsors with titles between Director and SVP that lead large teams; even if they do not currently face a problem, members of their teams may have specific problems that require help.
  • Expressed Interest in your Program and Tools.
    Executives who are already interested in your Innovation Team are the easiest to get engaged.
  • Already Engaged in Innovation-like Activities.
    Executives that participate on an innovation council or committee are strong candidates, as they have demonstrated interest in exploring novel ways of working.
  • Social Media or Technology Savvy.
    Does your target sponsor have a blog? Are they active on Twitter? Executives that embrace social media often have a ‘prepared mind’ for crowdsourcing innovation.

 

 

 

TACTICS FOR FINDING NEW SOLVE CHALLENGE SPONSORS
Here are a few tactics for you to try as you start building your pipeline of potential sponsors:

  • Ask for an introduction through a colleague. Does your supervisor have connections to a leader who meets our Challenge Sponsor Key Traits? How about the executive sponsor of your innovation program?
  • Check your intranet or internal newsletters for any projects that could be potential sources of Solve Challenge topics. Find a way to meet with the leader of that project team to explore fit.
  • Search your company directory for individuals with titles like Director/VP of Manufacturing, Director/VP of Production, or Director/VP of R&D. Use our email template below to reach out and introduce your crowdsourced problem solving service. 
  • Broadcast this new service via internal communication channels (newsletters, intranet, posters, team meeting visits). Encourage potential sponsors to reach out to you for more information.
  • Add a footer to your email signature. “Now looking for new problems to solve! Do you face a technical roadblock in your production process or on a R&D/new product development project? Our new crowdsourced problem solving service harnesses untapped potential from employees throughout [company_name] to consistently solve problems faster than other methods. Contact me if we can help you.”
  • Get on the right meeting agenda. If there is a strategy or innovation council, add yourself on their discussion topics, so they are aware that this service is now available.
  • Build a physical innovation area that has heavy foot traffic (even if it's a single message board in the cafe!). Communicates that this service is now available, and invite conversations with potential sponsors.

 

 

 

 

SPONSOR “PITCH” EMAIL TEMPLATES

Leverage the below email templates to reach out to potential sponsors for Solve Challenges.

Version for Manufacturing/Production

Subject: New tool for Manufacturing/Production leaders - crowdsourced problem solving from the Innovation Team

Dear [Potential_Sponsor],

I wanted to introduce our new crowdsourced problem solving service that we recently added to our innovation program, as I believe there will be opportunities for [company] leaders in Manufacturing and Production, like yourself, to get value from it.

Our goal with this service is to give you a tool to help you solve problems that your teams face, faster and more efficiently than your current means.

When we help you run a “Solve Challenge”, we leverage the untapped skills, abilities, and perspectives of people throughout our company - across offices, departments, and geographies - to come up with solutions to a sticky problem that you have been facing. The process should take about 6 weeks, meaning, in 6 weeks time, you should have solutions to try out and implement.

Solve Challenges can be used to address the following types of problems in Manufacturing and Production:

  • Troubleshoot a problem area in your production line that’s hurting your monthly KPIs
  • Brainstorm creative ways to revamp a hot spot in the assembly process
  • Explore novel solutions to a blocker issue

Since the Solve Challenge is hosted on our global platform, it can be accessed by anyone at [company] – we will work with you to come up with a list of the best possible individuals around the company to invite, ranging from factory workers to plant managers at other [company] plants around the world.

We require zero budget to run the process, only a commitment from you to implement the solution, once we identify one that meets your requirements. The overall time commitment needed from you and 2-3 members of your team would be about 2 hours per week for 6 weeks, plus completion of a short feedback survey at the end of the Challenge.

If this sounds like something that your team might benefit from, I’d love to set up a 30-minute meeting for us to further explore the opportunity. Could I set up a meeting for next week?

Best,

[IPM]

[IPM email]





Version for R&D/Development

Subject: New tool for R&D leaders - crowdsourced problem solving from the Innovation Team

Dear [Potential_Sponsor],

I wanted to introduce our new crowdsourced problem solving service that we recently added to our innovation program, as I believe there will be opportunities for [company] leaders in R&D/Development, like yourself, to get value from it.

Our goal with this service is to give you a tool to help you solve problems that your teams face, faster and more efficiently than your current means.

When we help you run a “Solve Challenge”, we leverage the untapped skills, abilities, and perspectives of people throughout our company - across offices, departments, and geographies - to come up with solutions to a sticky problem that you have been facing. The process should take about 6 weeks, meaning, in 6 weeks time, you should have solutions to try out and implement.

Solve Challenges can be used to address the following types of problems in R&D:

  • Unblock a project that is stuck due to lack of technical know-how.
  • Brainstorm creative approaches to meeting a challenging cost target or new design requirement.
  • Revive a long-term problem previously shelved due to lack of progress (where a solution could give us a distinct competitive advantage!).

Since the Solve Challenge is hosted on our global platform, it can be accessed by anyone at [company] – we will work with you to come up with a list of the best possible individuals around the company to invite, such as research scientists and development engineers working on other products at [company].

We require zero budget to run the process, only a commitment from you to implement the solution, once we identify one that meets your requirements. The overall time commitment needed from you and 2-3 members of your team would be about 2 hours per week for 6 weeks, plus completion of a short feedback survey at the end of the Challenge.

If this sounds like something that your team might benefit from, I’d love to set up a 30-minute meeting for us to further explore the opportunity. Could I set up a meeting for next week?

Best,

[IPM]

[IPM email]

 

 

Need help building your Solve Challenge? More questions? Let us know at success@brightidea.com

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