• Harry Sangree

Crowd-Solving By The Numbers

Updated: Mar 19

I love the power of the crowd! It’s size, diversity, and universal availability makes it a perfect tool to solve all kinds of problems. I have recently been writing about my crowd-solving experiences with @HabitatforHumanity and @WorldVision as each group has used crowd-solving to tackle a wide-ranging set of long-standing problems.


The first Habitat challenge was titled “Increasing Resilience to Earthquakes and Typhoons for Homes with No Foundations”. It launched on 7 October 2020 and began judging of submissions on 6 January 2021. It is in the final stages now of determining which submissions will be invited to field-test their concept (see a 30-second Habitat promo video HERE). The field testing is expected to last for a few months with a final winner being announced this summer. The challenge prize is US$25,000.

Figure 1


The funnel chart in Figure 1 shows how the initial ‘crowd’ of about 1 million potential solvers (see my earlier blog HERE) produced 278 solver registrations of people that were interested enough in the problem that they took the time to register and accept the challenge-specific terms and conditions. These solvers came from 59 different countries.


The group is evenly split between previous members of the InnoCentive crowd and new participants in the InnoCentive crowd-solving platform. This even balance shows the power of the existing InnoCentive crowd of 500,000 people while also showing the value of targeted marketing to bring a challenge to the attention of other potentially-interested groups of people.


The challenge registrants generated 82 different submissions to the challenge, of which 44 were deemed to be ‘quality’ submissions. These 44 submissions were 54% of the entire pool of submitted entries. Twelve of these were deemed to be ‘excellent’ and 4 or 5 are good enough that they will be invited to participate in a field test.


The submissions can be categorized into five different 'strategies' to make a home more resilient in earthquakes and/or typhoons. Each strategy is completely unrelated to the others and demonstrates the independence of thinking that occurs when using crowd-solving. The 'excellent' submissions had at least two submissions from each of the different strategies.


The “innovation funnel” is a powerful image that makes it clear to me that crowd-solving is a tool for ‘out-of-the-box’ innovation unlike any other method available to a large company. I think it is unreasonable for an organization to believe that any internal team, in just a few months, could generate so many well-developed, wildly-divergent ideas of such value that it is too hard to decide on a single winner.


The later Habitat and World Vision challenges have very similar results so far, but are behind this challenge because they started later. I plan to publish comprehensive performance metrics in a future blog as they become available.



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