InnoCentive and The Economist Announce Winners in the Entrepreneurship Challenge

By Wazoku

Posted on

InnoCentive is now part of Wazoku

Waltham, Mass.—April 26, 2011—InnoCentive, Inc., the global leader in Challenge Driven Innovation, along with The Economist, today announced the winners of The Economist-InnoCentive Entrepreneurship Challenge. Anjai Lal, a second year MBA student at the Yale School of Management, and Sasha Vyash, a second year student at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, will be awarded a total of $10,000 for their solution. The Challenge, which prompted the opening of more than 1,200 project rooms and received more than 100 submissions on the InnoCentive website, asked participants to create a disruptive business model in order to reinvent the established and prevailing means of doing business.

The winning solution—Agro-Engine—is a portfolio management tool that provides assistance for those in the retail and agriculture sectors to better allocate resources for portfolio optimization, particularly in emerging markets such as India. A typical farmer’s portfolio, for example, would consist of crops he or she intends to grow. With Agro-Engine, it would incorporate multiple inputs, such as previous track record, financial constraints, risk appetite, and time to market in order to better identify which crops to grow. With increased usage and data availability, Agro-Engine would become increasingly robust, enabling the identification of trends and useful recommendations.

“The Entrepreneurship Challenge was addressed at our Ideas Economy conference where the prevailing theme was innovation,” said Vijay Vaitheeswaran, Global Correspondent for The Economist. “The Agro-Engine, which clearly embodies the theme of innovation, is without a doubt a disruptive business model that could change the way emerging markets manage their retail and agricultural sectors.”

“This Challenge allowed us to identify a new approach to managing resources,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “Without the ability to manage resources in these emerging markets, farmers and retailers alike would not be able to meet market demand, especially as demands change year over year. Anjai and Vyash’s solution is a great addition to the retail and agriculture sectors to help farmers and corporations track trends to better plan for the future.”

The winners were chosen from several finalists who presented their solutions to an expert panel at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Innovation event at the University of California Berkeley in March. The panel included Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Director for Draper Fisher Jurvetson; ChineduEcheruo, Chairman and Founder of; and Krisztina “Z” Holly, Vice Provost, Innovation at the University of Southern California.

For more information on InnoCentive, visit the company’s website at


About The Economist (

Edited in London since 1843, The Economist is a weekly international news and business publication offering clear reporting, commentary and analysis on world politics, business, finance, science, technology, culture, society, media and the arts. The Economist has a North American circulation of 813,000, a global circulation of more than 1.4 million and 4 million monthly unique visitors at The Economist online. Because of its international editorial perspective, it is read by more of the world’s political and business leaders than any other magazine.


About InnoCentive

InnoCentive is the global leader of Challenge Driven Innovation that bridges the gap between great ideas and actual solutions to drive measureable results. Recognized as an open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer, InnoCentive’s proven methodology, expanding global community of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform enable organizations to tap all potential sources of innovation – employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest Solver community – to accelerate their pace of innovation and evolve into true Challenge Driven Enterprises. Leading commercial, public sector, and nonprofit organizations such as Eli Lilly, Life Technologies, NASA,, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to help them solve their most pressing problems and challenges. For more information, visit

By Wazoku

Wazoku is an innovation SaaS business that helps some of the world’s biggest organizations to innovate at scale. Whether it’s making the most of your employee's ideas, identifying new partners to collaborate with, or exploring the boundless potential of open innovation – or all three! – Wazoku makes innovation happen.