A lot of crowdsourced innovation programs will tell you to offer incentives to your community of participants in order to drive engagement – but sometimes that’s a challenge for organization either because of budget restrictions or company regulations. But it’s entirely possible for an organization to find ways to incentivize participation even with little to no budget.
For example, at the most recent Open Nation, the FDA discussed their approach to innovation incentives with little to no money spent so that they could reserve those resources to implement ideas. Instead of offering cash prizes or gift cards to the participants or winners, they would offer valued experiences, like the ability to leave the office four hours early on Friday or the invitation to have coffee with the executive sponsor. If you’re looking for more non-monetary rewards to incentivize engagement, you can download this tip sheet.
What was even more powerful about the FDA’s approach to engagement, however, was that they would align innovation incentives with their goals for the campaign. For example, if their main goal for their innovation campaign was to gain a high degree of input and visibility from a wide audience they would align their incentives with participation (so if the entire group hit their goal participation rate, then everyone in their office would get to leave one hour early on a Friday) whereas if they wanted to prioritize idea quality, they would reward the individual (perhaps offering that individual a prized parking spot for the week).
Of course, there are other things that you could incentivize, as well – including moderator activities, groups with high implementation rates, ideas that generate the most conversation, but the important thing is to think through your incentives so that they align to your overall program goals.