InnoCentive and The Economist Launch Challenge to Create a Compelling “Elevator Pitch” for Disruptive Innovation

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Waltham, Mass. – July, 31, 2012 – InnoCentive, Inc., the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, and The Economist today launched The Economist-InnoCentive Entrepreneurship Challenge. The latest in The Economist-InnoCentive Challenge Series, this Challenge seeks short descriptions for business ideas that employ disruptive technologies for big impact in the world. Frugal innovations and engineering efforts are especially encouraged. The best solutions will be easily transferable to an “elevator pitch” that could be presented before a panel of venture capitalists and innovation experts. This Challenge runs through early December, 2012, and carries a unique set of prizes for the winning Solver (see below).

Disruptive innovations are at least ten times better than existing solutions by providing a similar quality of product, service, or solution at 10% of the cost compared to competition, or, at the same cost as the competition, providing ten times more product, service, or solution. While many ideas appear at first to offer novel functionality, Solvers are encouraged to look beyond features and show how their innovative business idea enables customers or users to behave differently or live better. For example, digital cameras were disruptive not because they featured new video display screens, but because this allowed photographers to immediately preview the image that was just captured – a behavior not previously possible using film exposures.

The winning Solver will be given a unique opportunity to present his or her idea to high-profile business and innovation leaders at The Economist ‘Ideas Economy: Innovation 2013′ event in Berkeley, California, on March 28, 2013. In addition, the winning Solver will receive:

  • Honorarium of $2000
  • Compensation for travel expenses (including transportation and lodging)
  • Admission to the Ideas Economy: Innovation 2013 event along with participation in a live on-stage session
  • Admission to a future Ideas Economy event
  • Video promotion of the recorded interview, on and through social media channels
  • Publicity for the winning solution in appropriate Economist Events materials
  • An official meeting (phone or in person) with members of the Ideas Economy programming team to discuss ideas for venture capital or policy leaders

Awards will be made to the best submission(s) as solely determined by The Economist.  However, The Economist intends to judge submissions based on their balance of cleverness, viability of the idea, impact, cost and immediacy. The best submissions will clearly describe an original and high-impact idea that can be feasibly implemented with a modest amount of resources and solve an urgent need.

“Last year’s winning solution for the Entrepreneurship Challenge, Agro-Engine, was truly innovative and disruptive,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “With a new format – the elevator pitch – along with a very compelling set of inducements for Solvers to participate, we can’t wait to see the creative ideas our Solvers come up with for this Challenge.”

About The Economist

With a growing global circulation (now 1.5 million including both print* and digital) and a reputation for insightful analysis and perspective on every aspect of world events, The Economist
is one of the most widely recognised and well-read current affairs publications. The paper covers politics, business, science and technology, and books and arts, concluding each week with the obituary. Its website ( offers articles from the past ten years, in addition to web-only content such as blogs, debates and audio/video programmes. The Economist is now available to download for reading on Android, iPhone, or iPad devices.

About InnoCentive

InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, network of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly & Company, Life Technologies, NASA, Nature Publishing Group, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster, more cost effectively, and with less risk than ever before.

*Audit Bureau of Circulations UK/US, July-December 2011


Media Contacts:

Steve Bonadio
InnoCentive, Inc.

Marisa Borgasano
Schwartz MSL for InnoCentive

Amy Jaick
The Economist

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.