GVDS Journal #6: Targeting the right kinds of challenges

Picking a challenge for your sprint team in the GVDS is a lot like archery. It’s a long shot, but it’s doable. 🎯

After an extended offline conversation with Elisa Guardabasso on open innovation challenges, I have a pretty good idea of the structure we should use for our teams in GVDS6 this May.

Originally, the idea was to predominantly skew towards existing challenges by companies, organizations and groups that were looking for crowdsourced solutions to interesting problems. However, as I later learned, there are some challenges (no pun intended) with choosing this emphasis.

For starters, the process for submitting, refining and showcasing a team’s collective works is a lot more extended than what’s in the GVDS. We take about a month to bring everything together, but organizations like OpenIDEO run on a longer timeline. Some teams welcome members mid-stream, but it’s highly dependent on group dynamics and where each group is at.

Another complication is finding challenges that can be crowdsourced in the first place. Non-profits who are looking for more innovative ways of getting funded are probably not a good fit. Same with challenges that require particular skill-sets on the team to have proper context and application (like medical devices, geological equipment or materials engineering).

So, it’s a better idea to diversify and offer participants a wider format of choices. Here’s what’s currently on deck for mid-February.

  1. Research and adopt approximately 3–5 open innovation challenges for team consideration.
  2. Host our own open innovation challenges, with a call for submittals till mid-March.
  3. A repeat of GVDS4, where participants and teams can submit their own challenges for team adoption.

The second one is the most interesting, in that we’d control both the engagement model and the intended outcomes. We’d also be able to gain access to people closest to the problem or challenge by proxy of us considering the challenge in the first place.

More to come in the days ahead. For now, it’s continuing to work on the learning module for beta testing next week.

Hope this finds you well!



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Robert Skrobe

Robert Skrobe

I run Dallas Design Sprints, The Design Sprint Referral Network and Talent Sprints.