Crafting the Perfect Challenge for Open Innovation

Launching an Open Innovation challenge involves more than just gathering ideas; it requires a crystal-clear and precise challenge definition to guide innovators effectively. At ekipa, we understand the critical importance of defining each challenge precisely to ensure alignment with the strategic goals of our partners and to resonate deeply with our community of innovators.

Quick Overview

If you're short on time but still want to capture the crucial insights from this blog post on designing effective open innovation challenges, we've distilled the key points for you here:

  1. Importance of Precise Challenge Definitions in Open Innovation: Clarity and precision in challenge definitions are crucial for the success of open innovation projects, directing creativity and efforts towards practical solutions that align with business strategies.
  2. Optimizing Resources in Technological Innovation: In a fast-paced tech environment, precise definitions help in efficiently utilizing resources, ensuring that developed ideas and innovative solutions are in sync with the company’s strategic needs.
  3. Enhancing Participation and Diversity in Innovation Challenges: Accurate challenge definitions encourage wider and more targeted participation, promoting the diversity of ideas and enhancing their innovation potential and relevance.
  4. Discovering Areas with a Structured Approach: ekipa employs a three-pronged methodology involving problem-driven, opportunity-driven, and hybrid approaches to uncover challenge themes that facilitate effective and strategically aligned innovations.
  5. ekipa’s Role in Strategic Innovation Management: ekipa is pivotal in defining and sculpting innovation challenges that not only meet the strategic objectives of our partners but also resonate with a global community of innovators.
  6. Designing an Effective Solution Space for Innovation: The creation of a solution space is essential to foster unrestricted innovation while ensuring that only viable and actionable business approaches are pursued.

Why Precise Challenge Definition Matters in Open Innovation

The success of an open innovation project hinges on the precision of challenge definitions. Clear and detailed challenge parameters direct participants’ creative energies toward solutions that closely align with corporate strategic goals, enhancing clarity and setting specific expectations. This focused approach not only fosters actionable results but also maximizes the utilization of resources in a rapidly evolving technological environment. Furthermore, precise definitions boost participation by attracting a broad spectrum of experts from various sectors, ensuring a rich diversity of innovative and applicable ideas. By effectively marrying creativity with business objectives, precise challenge definitions ensure that open innovation efforts are both efficient and strategically relevant.

Discovering Challenge Themes: A Three-Pronged Approach

At ekipa, our approach to uncovering potential challenge themes for Open Innovation projects is comprehensive, ensuring a focused yet broad ideation process. We leverage a structured methodology to help our partners innovate effectively and align their innovations with strategic business goals. Here’s how we do it:

  1. Problem-Driven Identification: This method prioritizes the identification and resolution of existing challenges within a company or industry. By clearly defining a problem, we set the stage for innovative solutions. Examples of this approach include:
  2. Opportunity-Driven Identification: This approach emphasizes capitalizing on new technologies, market developments, or research findings to propel the company forward. For example:
  3. Hybrid Approach: Combining elements from both problem-driven and opportunity-driven methods, this approach fosters innovation by addressing specific issues with new opportunities. For instance:

ekipa’s Role in Sculpting Precise Innovation Challenges

ekipa plays a pivotal role in defining and sculpting precise innovation challenges that align with the strategic objectives of our partners and resonate with a global community of innovators. Our methodical approach ensures that each challenge directs it towards actionable, scalable solutions. Here’s how we achieve this:

  1. Initial Assessment: The process begins with a comprehensive understanding of the existing conditions and requirements set forth by the challenge providers. This includes an in-depth analysis of the company’s current challenges, technical specifications, and strategic objectives to ensure that the innovation challenge is grounded in real-world needs.
  2. Collaborative Model Exploration: We explore various collaborative avenues, including partnerships with startups, joint ventures with research institutions, or leveraging internal resources to foster innovation. This diverse approach allows for a rich exchange of ideas and ensures that the solutions are developed through a lens of collaboration and expertise sharing.
  3. In-depth Interviews and Engagements: We conduct detailed interviews with stakeholders, which are crucial for gathering insights and understanding the nuances of the challenge. These 90-minute-deep dives allow us to extract valuable information that shapes the framework of the challenge, ensuring that it is both comprehensive and precise.
  4. Refinement and Alignment: Once the initial information is gathered, we work closely with the challenge sponsors to refine the challenge brief. This document is meticulously fine-tuned to align perfectly with the strategic goals of the organization, ensuring that the proposed solutions are both innovative and applicable.

Learn from Successful Collaborations

Hear directly from companies that have defined and conquered their innovation challenges with ekipa. Watch testimonials from our partners who discuss their experiences and the impactful outcomes of precise challenge definitions: Watch the Video.


At ekipa, we recognize that the key to unlocking true innovation lies in the clarity and precision of open innovation challenge definitions. Clear definitions not only guide innovators effectively, but they also ensure that their creative solutions align with the strategic needs of businesses, ensuring that every innovation effort has a direct impact on real-world challenges.

A crucial aspect of innovation challenge design is creating a solution space that nurtures innovation without restrictions yet ensures only feasible business solutions are pursued. We define a framework broad enough for diverse ideas but specific enough for practical implementation. Achieving this balance requires close collaboration with stakeholders to ensure solutions align with organizational goals.

Discover how precise challenge definitions can revolutionize your approach to innovation and help you tackle the most pressing industry challenges. Explore our platform to learn more, or contact our Open Innovation specialists, Justin Gemeri or Stella Mai, and begin your journey towards a future shaped by collaborative, sustainable innovation.

Justin Gemeri, Co-Founder & Business Development Manager
+49 151 525 924 17

Stella Mai, Business Development Manager
+49 176 179 200 83

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