How do you design a good challenge?

A challenge is a challenge in which you collect ideas for your organization. We explain how to optimally prepare your challenge.

The literal translation of challenge is a challenge. Within the field of innovation we use the word 'Challenge ' often as an alternative to 'ideas competition'. If you want to use your employees, customers or other groups to think about a solution for a particular challenge you have, setting up a Challenge is one of the ways to obtain this input.

ideasThe characteristics of a Challenge are as follows:

  • Clear question
  • Certain target audience
  • Limited duration
  • Clear reward

Nowadays it is quite easy to do this with help from ideation software to do. Parties we work with are, for example: AcceptMission, XiBE, Skipso Labs, Qmarkets and Edison365. On our website you will find a comparison of these providers.

Anyway, software is ultimately just a tool. Your challenge stands or falls with its design. To help you with this, we developed the Challenge Scoping Canvas. On the basis of a few questions you have all the relevant information together on 1 A4 sheet. Now it is a breeze to set up a fun challenge!

Since we are mainly concerned with innovation, we assume that you are looking for new ideas for your customers.

As an example we will assume a white label cleaning company, which wants to set up a Challenge for its employees.

Challenge Scoping Canvas

challenge scoping canvas1. What is the challenge / problem?

This one seems pretty straightforward, because why organize a Challenge if you don't have a clear challenge or problem? Yet I have learned at various organizations that this question is not always so easy to answer.

We often think we know exactly what our customers' challenges are or the problems they have at the moment. But is this really the case?

If someone asks you to organize this challenge, feel free to ask for 'proof' that there is actually a problem.

In this section you will summarize this problem concisely, for example:

Customers buy various cleaning products for different purposes. The closet is overflowing and I never find what I need.

2. Why is this a challenge for the customer?

Here is the motivation why the customers experience this as a problem, for example:

iI have no overview

I have no more cupboard space

I don't know what to use for what

each package doses differently

each package opens differently

feel like I'm spending too much money

how environmentally friendly is this?

Here too, you ensure that these motivations arise from customer research and not on the basis of your own assumptions.

3. For whom is this a challenge / problem?

We are looking for a solution for a customer group with a relevant problem. Then we must also clearly describe who we are targeting in this challenge. So even if you let employees contribute, you will have to clearly describe for which customer group an idea or solution must be devised.

customer problemIn our example: Target group are consumers who live in a house or apartment, who clean themselves at least once a week.

4. What else do I need to know as a participant?

As a participant I may need some more background information. For example, why it is important for the organization to organize this challenge, how it fits within the strategy. But also practical information about the timelines, how the process works, where you can place your idea and how it works.

5. Who do you want to present the challenge to?

Here you have a number of options

  • Part of the employees (for example with specific roles)
  • All employees
  • Specific customers, suppliers, by invitation
  • Customers, suppliers with open registration link
  • Completely open

The choice to whom you want to present the challenge often partly determines the settings with regard to visibility of the ideas to others (for example, should this be visible to everyone or not), the degree of interaction (everyone may give feedback on each idea) and the gamification options (for example, giving likes or scores).

6. On the basis of which criteria do you want to assess the ideas / reactions?

If you set up a challenge, it must also be assessed. You assess if you want to do this objectively, based on predetermined criteria. Criteria provide direction and clarity. Participants will describe their ideas more clearly, and will also be able to better assess whether it makes sense to participate or not.

At this stage you are mainly looking for a lot of ideas and do not make the criteria too specific yet. In the first phase, these are some example criteria:

The idea:

  • Fits within our strategy
  • Solves a relevant problem for our target audience
  • Appears to be feasible within our technical possibilities
  • May be attractive to us as a company - qualitatively or quantitatively

7. Who assesses?

It is important to be transparent in advance about who will assess the ideas. Does the jury consist of a number of managers, are they employees, or do you still have external people on the jury?

8. What's in it for me? Why do I have to participate in this challenge?

You ask your employee / customer / relation to participate in a challenge. This participant would probably like to know why he or she should participate. Below are some examples:

  • idea champion
  • we would like to use your expertise (recognition)
  • you can develop your idea further if it is selected (recognition plus nice learning experience / motivation)
  • we want to learn from our customers (customer focus)
  • you can win a prize
  • etc.

9. How many ideas do we choose?

You do not yet know how many ideas will come in, but you do know that you cannot pick up 100 at a time. You will therefore have to determine the maximum number of ideas you want to continue.

Once the challenge is aimed at solving minor problems, you might be able to pass more ideas through and put them on a 'backlog'. However, if it concerns a challenge, where after selection, one or more employees will have to spend serious time on it, then you will be able to estimate how many will be allowed through.

My advice here is to let at least 3 ideas go through. Why? It is impossible to say with 100% certainty which idea is the best. It can look so good on paper, the moment the idea is being tested, the idea will evaluate itself or perhaps fall through the basket. By submitting multiple ideas, you also have a better chance of success, so that you can set up a challenge again next year.

10. How might we ask

This is a Design Thinking method, in which you formulate questions that start with… How Might We. The How makes it clear that you have not yet come up with the solution. 'Might'is in Dutch: could we. So here too there is room for creativity. And 'We'indicates that it is something that we have to put our backs on together. The trick is not to formulate the How MIght We question too broadly, but also not too narrowly. Based on the completed canvas, you will brainstorm with a group about suitable HMW questions and then choose 1 that is central to the challenge. This often has to be formulated slightly differently so that the target group understands it immediately.


Too wide

Improve HMW cleaning?

Too narrow

HMW ensure that cleaning packaging takes up 30% less space



  • ensure that a customer needs fewer different cleaning products?
  • make the cabinet with cleaning products more effective and transparent?
  • reduce the need for bulky packaging?
  • clarify so that the customer immediately knows which product is intended for what?

Next step?

Now that you have formulated a clear scoping, setting up the Challenge has become a lot easier. You have almost all the ingredients to set up the Challenge correctly in the ideation software. Are you failing? Pimcy has a lot of experience in setting up and guiding these types of challenges.

We wish you good luck with your challenge![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information from certain services through your browser, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Keep in mind that blocking some types of cookies may affect your experience on our website and the services we offer.