As an independent professional, being an open innovation solver can be fulfilling. It helps create a new revenue stream and the satisfaction of contributing to a company’s strategic direction.
You know how to write a winning proposal and you understand the importance of cultivating a good relationship with a client or prospect. This means you already have a leg up in crafting and submitting your great ideas to open innovation contests or calls for submissions.
Whether you’ve already entered the world of open innovation or are still at the consideration stage, here are six tips that can help you win.
1. Concentrate on the Details
Though this is true for your whole business, it’s worth repeating in the context of open innovation. Make sure you carefully read the materials provided by the company. Master the instructions, understand the deliverables, and prepare your submission according to the formatting specifications provided.
2. Make Sure You’re Clear
There’s no room for ambiguity in your submission. Explain your idea in a way that doesn’t leave the company trying to figure it out on its own. Better to overexplain than underexplain. Be explicit in the ideas you’re putting forward.
3. Show Your Work
You can provide a lot more in-depth information as part of your submissions on open innovation platforms than you normally would in proposals. In fact, offering insight into the resources and materials you relied on for developing your idea can be a key competitive advantage. Compile your sources in a list or bibliography as an appendix to your submission so that the company can dig deeper into the background of your work if desired.
4. Go Multimedia
At MindSumo, we’ve noticed that companies value ideas that are presented in more than one medium. Include visual elements in your submission—for example, slides, sketches, or video—in addition to the written content. This can help the company gain a clearer understanding of your idea. Plus, in addition to showing that you went the extra mile, it demonstrates a broader skillset you can bring to the table.
5. Avoid Procrastination
If you are participating in open innovation contests, submitting early can work in your favor. The company often has the most momentum right after a contest is launched. Being one of the first submissions can get a lot more attention and generate a lot more excitement because the initiative is fresh. Later in the contest timeframe, especially if there are a lot of submissions, your idea could get lost or glossed over as reviewers put in the time trying to get through everything.
6. Express Your Interest
Submitting your idea on an open innovation platform can be an opportunity to pitch yourself. If you are interested in the company you’re submitting to, don’t just leave it up to chance and hope that the company likes your idea and will reach out. If you’re interested in building a relationship with the company, say so and make it easy to connect with you. Add a line at the end of your submission, saying that you’re very interested in working with the company. Offer your contact information, like an email address or phone number.
Given that these tips can apply to your whole business, they may not be news to you. These success factors are still worth noting as they relate to being successful as an open innovation solver. Keep them in mind as you develop your business in this rapidly changing work environment.
Want to know more about open innovation? Visit us at MindSumo.