Idea Connection

IdeaConnection has a vast membership and large network of highly educated, creative experts ready to focus on solving your challenges.Our flexible approach tailors problem solving to fit your needs, and you control costs by determining your own challenge award amounts.

- Problem Solving: confidential R&D problem solving, challenge writing, grand challenges.

- Idea Generation: IdeaRally(R) (online brainstorming with experts), prize-based ideation contests.

- Scouting: technology scouting, prior art citation search, executive search, consultant search.

Business Case (short): 
Business Case (extended): 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an organization with close to five million global members. It organizes the Conservation Innovation Awards, an annual crowdsourcing contest in New Zealand that aims to find and support innovative ways to protect and restore the country's diversity. The 2015 awards followed on from the success of the inaugural 2014 contest, with participants invited to submit their ideas to any of the three categories - product, community project and research. Contributions were voted on by the contest's online community, but the final say on who won what went to the judging panel of independent experts.

Contest Winners The three winning entries of the 2015 crowdsourcing conservation innovation competition were:

- Vespex Wasp Bait by Richard Toft. This is a wasp baiting system for wide-area wasp control anywhere in the world. The initial problem it is trying to solve is reducing the number of Vespula wasps. These insects are a major threat to the native ecosystem through predation of invertebrates and competition for natural resources.

- Lure, Trap, Retreat! by Trent Bell. This winning concept aims to improve techniques for surveying and monitoring lizards. The team behind the project claim to have developed traps that increase the trapability for targeted species and decrease the number of trap escapes. It is hoped that this will encourage wider public involvement in lizard monitoring programs.

- He Manawa Whenua - He Oranga Tangata : Healthy Environment - Healthy People. The idea was submitted by Aitanga A Hauiti, Uawa Tolaga Bay Community, Allan Wilson Centre. The proposal is a way to drive and sustain a healthy environment by linking cultural growth, scientific knowledge, economic and social development.

Prizes and Development

Each category winner in this crowdsourcing conservation contest received a $25,000 development grant and a year-long mentoring package. GE and Statoil, Norway Concerned that water management is one of the greatest challenges facing the onshore oil and gas industry, GE and Norwegian multinational Statoil launched an open innovation challenge contest for solutions. The aim was to find novel ways for reducing fresh water usage and treating and reusing water from development activities. At the same time, solutions had to improve operational productivity. Innovative solutions not only have the potential to benefit the industry - for example, reducing the amount of water can lead to lower transport and energy costs - but the environment and local communities can be winners too.

Global Invitation

Businesses, institutions and members of the public were invited to take part the challenge. Up for grabs was a total prize pool of $500,000, made up of initial cash prizes and development funds. More than 100 entries were received from participants in 23 countries, and from these four winners were selected based on such criteria as innovation, technical feasibility and commercial viability. Each winner received an initial cash award of $25,000. The four winning ideas of the open innovation competition, judged by technical experts from both GE and Statoil were:

- Karen Sorber, Micronic Technologies, USA - for a low-pressure, low temperature mechanical evaporation technology that purifies wastewater from any source.

- Chunlei Guo, University of Rochester, USA - for a technology involving high powered lasers that alter the inner walls of downhole production pipes making them water repellent.

- Ahilan Raman (also a successful problem solver with IdeaConnection), Clean Energy and Water Technologies, Australia - for a technology that removes organic compounds then separates remaining compounds by creating ice crystals through Eutectic freeze crystallization (EFC). This process is an energy-efficient way of producing clean water and pure salt from aqueous process streams.

- Anthony Duong, Battelle Memorial Institute, USA - for a nano-sponge, a gel made from nanoscale particles that is injected into hydraulically fractured walls. The gel soaks up halite ions, the main actors in forming salt deposits. This means that salt cannot crystallize, thereby protecting equipment from damage done by salt deposits.

Future Development and Cost Savings

Development will continue on the ideas, with $375,000 earmarked for these activities. When asked by Shale Gas News how much the technologies are expected to cut water management costs, a contest spokesman said hard figures were not available because the winning solutions are at various stages of development. However, Karen Sorber's mechanical evaporation technology "...removes solids, dissolved solids, metals and bacteria at over 95 percent removal rates and 95 percent throughput and is estimated to cost one-tenth that of distillation."


Crowd Competition: challenges are presented in on online environment, and ideas to solve the challenge are requested from large groups of people with a set of competences that matches the needs of the challenge.

Process description: 

IdeaConnection builds solution teams from a secure network of brilliant experts. Each team is managed by a world-class facilitator. By combining expertise and diverse perspectives, we provide you with solutions and insights not normally achievable by individuals working alone. We only accept client challenges we believe can be solved - we focus on productive success.

IdeaConnection believes that you shouldn't have to pay for results that don't meet your criteria. Our R&D Challenge model takes the risk out of innovation and provides you with easy access to innovative solutions. Your challenge will receive several intensely researched and detailed solutions, and if, after reviewing them you are not satisfied, you pay out no award for the challenge.