About the Way
Innovation challenges are idea competitions organized internally by an organization to explore solutions related to its respective business or industry. In recent years, innovation challenges have become a popular method of crowdsourcing ideas and solutions, as well as tapping into the creative power of employees. Winners typically receive a financial award with other benefits, such as mentoring support, and some of these innovation challenges are open to partners and outsiders. For example, IBM ran its first InnovationJam in 2001 as an internal experiment and now offers this type of event planning as a service to its clients.
Grand challenges are broader initiatives tied to large prizes that invite solutions from the public to pressing societal problems. Grand challenges have a fun history that can be traced back to the longitude rewards, when various European governments from the 1500s through 1800s offered a prize to anyone who could find a practical method for precisely determining a ship's longitude.1 The solution was eventually provided by a self‐taught clockmaker.2 Or a famous grand challenge in 1919 by a French hotelier, who offered a prize to anyone who could fly nonstop from New York City to Paris, or vice versa—won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927, who then became an instant worldwide celebrity.3
Other major groups host grand challenges today. ...