5 Things to Think About when It Comes To Innovation Incentives

IdeaScale gets tons of questions and recommendation requests as people develop communities, but there’s one key topic that everyone seems to want to know more about: engagement. Which is why we’ll be talking about the value of innovation communities and the impact they can have on a business at an upcoming conference, but one of the questions we get time and again is “what is the best way to incentivize a community?”

There is much discussion about community engagement when it comes to the business of innovation and idea management. There are numerous ways to reward participants when it comes to making improvements to businesses, agencies, or organizations and it’s one of the key success factors in engagement. Crowdfunders often offer a part of the product or simply the recognition of contributing to a great community, but what is most effective and what should you ask yourself when beginning to incentivize a program?

Here are some thoughts about incentives and innovation.

1. There’s value to recognition. 69% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized. This doesn’t even mean tangible awards of any sort, but simply an acknowledgment of the value of contributions. And this goes for the innovation process, as well. Employees that are recognized will work harder and generate better work.

2. Rewards that are based on the level of engagement generated by an idea are often the most effective. One study found that ideas rewarded for impact increased the number of ideas from a single participant and those ideas had a higher word average per idea and a higher qualitative score attributed by judges.

3. Good ideas happen in communities with good moderation. When participants know that they are being monitored for their work (both good and bad), they are more likely to contribute valuable insight.

4. Rewards can mean a number of things. Get creative. Kickstarter alumni are great at this. There are great examples of this happening in the government sector. The President’sSAVE Award rewards folks with a meeting with the President. Manor, Texas gives “innobucks” away that can be exchanged for ride-along’s with the Sheriff or lunch with the Mayor. It doesn’t have to be cold, hard cash.

5. There are a number of behaviors to incentivize: ideas contributed, random participation, those who help keep the community organized, time spent on a project. What makes the most sense for your community?

And sometimes participation itself is the reward, if the community that one is building is a community that one wants to be a part of. If you’re dialoguing regularly with interesting people, if the results are truly engaging, being a part of the magic is simply the reward.

One Columbia Professor, Olivier Toubia has conducted a variety of trials studying the effectiveness of crowdsourcing and idea generation, particularly when it comes to incentivizing the process and he has some ideas. IdeaScale is glad to host him in a complimentary webinar that will take place on January 9th at 9:30 a.m. PST. Register here for this complimentary webinar and find out what sort of incentives program might work best for you. We’ll be discussing these ideas and more when we attend Crowdopolis next month!

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