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February 3, 2017 Choosing the Right Crowdsourced Innovation Program

This article is the last of a four-part series focused on how top enterprises are using crowdsourcing to drive continuous innovation and employee engagement. Learn more about crowdsourced innovation programs in the free ebook Innovating at Scale with Crowdsourcing: Five Steps to go from Ideas to Apps.  
Everyone wants to be more innovative, and while organizations today face a variety of innovation obstacles—from cultural resistance to limited bandwidth and capabilities—crowdsourcing provides a scalable, predictable way to generate and build on more innovative ideas.
The first three parts of this series described how crowdsourcing helps organizations live Google’s innovation principles, why crowdsourced innovation matters to executives, and how top organizations are using crowdsourced innovation programs to drive measurable results. In this post we’ll hone in on the two kinds of crowdsourced innovation programs Topcoder customers are leveraging to accelerate innovation.


An Appathon is a structured innovation campaign that showcases your technology or innovation initiatives through a six-month app ideation, design, and development competition.
You sponsor teams of employees, customers, advocates, or even average citizens to generate ideas for apps and digital services that solve an industry or topic-specific problem. Each proposal is evaluated against predetermined criteria, and popular voting and/or a panel of judges choose the ideas with the most potential. Teams with winning app ideas build working solutions in parallel through crowdsourcing competitions in the Topcoder Marketplace.
Experts from the Topcoder Community guide each team from app idea to UI/UX designs, clickable prototypes, and even minimum viable products (MVPs)—all with your preferred technology stacks and development standards. You select the best solutions to move forward at each stage of the competition.
Appathons rapidly deliver multiple technology solutions you can continue to build upon and bring to market, and they also provide unique opportunities to engage key audiences and promote your organization.

Innovation App Center

Innovation App Center is designed to fuel your ongoing innovation program with on-demand access to an endless supply of UI/UX designers and app developers.  
Individual or teams of employees generate ideas for apps and digital services that solve industry or organization-specific problems, and proposals can be submitted any any point throughout the year. Predetermined criteria are used to evaluate ideas, and a panel of judges or employee voting are used to select ideas to receive funding for crowdsourced design and development competitions in the Topcoder Marketplace.
Employees with funded ideas work with experts from the Topcoder Community to turn their ideas into UI/UX designs, clickable prototypes, and MVPs. Your preferred technology stacks and standards are used throughout the development lifecycle, and you can evaluate solutions at each stage of the competition—and choose the solutions to receive funding to move forward.
Innovation App Center energizes your intrapreneurs, eliminates obstacles to continuous innovation, and results in more working solutions you can test, iterate upon, and bring to market.

Choosing the Right Crowdsourced Innovation Program

While Appathon and Innovation App Center programs are both designed to help enterprises bring 20, 40, or even 60 apps from idea to prototype or MVP, it’s important to choose the crowdsourced innovation program that best aligns with your goals and innovators.
Here at Topcoder, we’ve had the opportunity to help some of the world’s top organizations determine how best to incorporate crowdsourcing with their innovation initiatives, and we’ve distilled our years of experience into a free eBook, Executing on Innovation at Scale with Crowdsourcing: 5 Steps to Continuous Innovation Success.


VP, Marketing


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