“Our 5-day innovation challenge was very successful,” said Paul Fletter, Innovation Manager at Hollister Incorporated

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Covid-19 business threat challenge starters

For Planbox clients, collaborative problem-solving through Online Innovation Labs is the go-to solution.

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covid19 innovation

Planbox’s Covid-19 Business Threat Challenge Starters consist of Challenge Focus Topics updated in real-time to reflect current events, as well as our customers’ most pressing priorities, concerns and requirements. Keep checking back for new focus topics as they arise in response to new challenges brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, or view the press release to learn how Planbox customers are taking the fight against Covid-19 online. Read the Press Release

Leveraging the power of the crowd

Whether we like to admit it or not, the Covid-19 pandemic is having significant impacts on companies and individuals alike. Since the start of the outbreak, we’ve been thrust into a vicious circle of uncertainty where shutdown orders, physical distancing, employee absences and salary/budget cuts have dramatically increased, which in turn has dwindled engagement and delayed decision-making on the part of employees, customers, partners and suppliers.

Right now, one of the most widely talked-about practices to overcome these sudden setbacks is leveraging the power of the crowd to identify the best ideas and develop the best solutions for your organization’s most pressing challenges. This can be achieved by crowdsourcing your immediate network of employees, customers and partners, or by involving your broader ecosystem of startups, researchers and virtual networks of problem solvers.

Create mutually beneficial business outcomes

Building and maintaining meaningful engagement between different crowds will allow your organization to discover the best opportunities to focus on, identify emerging trends and threats, develop new solutions, and make more informed decisions that ultimately create mutually beneficial business outcomes in these turbulent times.

That’s why we put together a set of Challenge Focus Topics to support these outcomes in your organization as the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve. Just as we shared them with our own community, we now want to share them with you to support your organization in its efforts to effectively develop winning solutions in response to any setbacks it may experience as a result of the pandemic. After all, collaborative problem solving is key, especially in times of uncertainty.

online innovation lab guide

Don’t let physical distance get in the way: explore the open innovation solution Planbox customers quickly turned to to maintain participation, facilitate coordination and streamline meaningful engagement with employees, customers partners and suppliers around ideation initiatives in areas of advanced research, rapid prototyping and commercialization.

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Innovation in response to current events

Challenge Focus Topic #1

The business outcome of this challenge is to find game changers, new inspirations and innovation opportunities that we had not thought about before based on current emerging trends.

Challenge Statement

Covid-19 is resulting in significant changes in our society. Virtual work, social distancing, reduced travel and digital format for events and conferences are quickly being adopted as common practices by an increasing number of organizations.

Consider how this health pandemic has changed perception and perspective on our company, customers and strategic partners. What changes do you recommend we make on how we operate given this quickly shifting landscape of interaction, collaboration and work? What changes do you recommend we make for our customers to make their lives better?

The best ideas are:

  • Successfully implemented in a timely manner to respond to current trends and market realities

Idea Form Questions

In addition to title and description, we recommend idea form questions such as:

  • How do you recommend your idea be implemented?
  • How would your idea positively impact overall costs or productivity
  • What would the impact of your idea be to our customers and fellow employees?

Review Criteria

To select the top ideas to implement, we recommend the following criteria:

  • Whether the implementation can be done in a timely manner to the identified emerging trends
  • Greatest impact on employee productivity and engagement
  • Greatest impact on customer satisfaction and retention
  • Large revenue opportunity

Cost reduction

Challenge Focus Topic #2

The business outcome of this challenge is to reduce short term costs during this current cycle, which likely has financial implications for the current year. This helps your company have a quick, proactive response and be in a strong position to ride out this cycle of uncertainty.

Challenge Statement

As the markets fluctuate in our industry and across the globe, we would like to encourage our team to proactively look for ways to reduce our operating costs. For the next two weeks, share your ideas and comments around how we can reduce our costs for the remainder of 2020.

The best ideas are:

  • Quick to implement
  • Have a broad impact across the organization
  • Successfully implemented without negative impact to the customer

Idea Form Questions

In addition to title and description, we recommend idea form questions such as:

  • How do you recommend your idea be implemented?
  • How would your idea positively impact overall costs or productivity
  • What would the impact of your idea be to our customers and fellow employees?

Review Criteria

To select the top ideas to implement, we recommend the following criteria:

  • Speed to implementation
  • Greatest impact to overall costs
  • Least amount of impact to clients

Customer voice

Challenge Focus Topic #3

The business outcome of this challenge is to assure the voice of your company’s customers is heard from the front line employees to the decision makers. Likely, your company is hearing an increase in customer concerns during this uncertainty, and this type of challenge can shorten the time between customer inquiry and effective response. The audience for this challenge would be anyone in your organization currently talking with customers on a regular basis.

Challenge Statement

We’re hearing an increase in client questions and concerns and as a company want to assure we are in a position to proactively respond and reassure our valued customers.

Over the next three weeks, we’re asking everyone who works with customers, to share what you are hearing from customers that is new and needs a quick response. The input you share will be reviewed for trends and our team will support you in responding quickly and effectively.

Idea Form Questions

In addition to title and description, we recommend idea form questions such as:

  • How many times a week would you say you hear this customer question?
  • How have you responded and how would you suggest we respond as an organization?
  • What else should we know about the impact to the business you’re seeing from this issue?

Review Criteria

To select ideas for action, we recommend the following criteria:

  • Frequency of the issue
  • Severity of the issue

Supply chain

Challenge Focus Topic #4

The business outcome of this challenge is to collaborate with the supply chain to adjust in the short-term to meet the change in demand. See how a multinational healthcare products manufacturer and services provider ran a successful innovation campaign around this focus topic and effectively avoided disruption in their supply chain. Learn More

Challenge Statement

It happened – we’ve had a Black Swan event with Covid-19 and the economic impacts of the virus. We’d like to collaborate across the supply chain to assure we are able to make adjustments during this short-term change in demand.

Over the next three weeks, we’re asking each of you to share ideas on how we can work differently and more effectively as a team to support each other and our shared customers over the coming weeks.

Top Ideas:

  • Can be implemented quickly
  • Have a positive impact to the supply chain
  • Support the current levels of short-term demand
  • Can have positive long-term impacts when this cycle is over

Idea Form Questions

In addition to title and description, we recommend idea form questions such as:

  • How do you recommend your idea be implemented?
  • How would your idea positively impact the companies within the supply chain?
  • What would the impact of your idea be to our shared customers?
  • Would your idea have long term benefits for the supply chain?

Review Criteria

To select ideas for action, we recommend the following criteria:

  • Speed of implementation
  • Positive impact to supply chain members
  • Positive impact to customers within the supply chain
  • Long-term positive impact

Supporting each other during these crazy times

Challenge Focus Topic #5

Employees are suddenly forced to work from home, provide child care all day, maintain their household and continue to be productive at work. These are new experiences for everyone and likely employees are running into new problems which everyone can collaborate and resolve.

Challenge Statement

Sharing best practices and working virtually: Covid-19 is resulting in significant changes in the way we all work and live for at least the next 30-45 days. This is new for all of us and no doubt we are having new experiences and learning something every day, so we’re asking you to share your ‘new normal best practices’ with each other for working from home.

The best ideas:

  • Can be successfully implemented by anyone anywhere
  • Consider balancing family, work and being home for extended periods of time
  • Helps one another make the best of this evolving situation

Idea Form Questions

In addition to title and description, we recommend idea form questions such as:

  • What advice do you have for implementing your best practice?
  • What has been the positive impact you’ve seen in your own life from this practice?

Review Criteria

  • Use social rating on this particular challenge, such as star rating