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Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests

Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests

This article discusses the usage of design competitions and contests as a tool to derive and form co-innovation among designers

Have you ever joined a design competition where everyone can see your entry even before the results are announced? Here comes the age of coin-novation design contests which are custom built for a specific reason: to make people co-innovate, while also creating profits for the competition platforms and the organizer.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
Traditional design competitions have simple offerings such as a publication and dissemination possibilities, advertising, contracts, certificates, year book publications, and perhaps the realization of designs. Designers submit, submissions end, jury select winners, winners celebrate together with honorable mentions.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
Designers say that they join these traditional competitions mostly to get publishing and promotion possibilities, but there exists a significant percentage of designers who wants more; monetary awards, prizes and compensations are important for them, together with realization of designs and self-improvement possibilities.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
Co-innovation contests uses these secondary but significant driving forces: monetary awards, prizes and compensations are important for them, together with realization of designs and self-improvement possibilities to attract rather young designers to submit ideas to their contests. However little that designers know is the fact that they are quite different from the traditional design competitions.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
The co-innovation design competitions also start like traditional design competitions, there is a call for entries, and designers submit their works. Afterwards, designers notice that they can see the works by other designers, and not only that, they could also see how jury (the organizer who would pay money to the first place) reacts to the entries. They see what the jury likes and what the jury dislikes.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
Given these new information, designers do withdraw and update their designs based on the inputs by the jury; jury usually says: I like design no #325 because it is pinky. Then, you will see that all new designs are pink. The process is open and continues, the more the jury comments for each participant the more they are involved and submit further designs.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
The phase 2 continues, till a certain amount of designs are reached or a time-frame is met. But time is seldom a problem; an extension always comes so that people who keep their designs for the last minute also get copied somehow by other ninja designers; designers are suggested copy the best practices and are directed in a way to co-innovate.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
In the end, it is a great success for the organizer as usually the competition leads to a very high quality design that matches the needs of the organizer; it might not be the best, but it is what works best for the organizer. Only a single winner is awarded money, and usually the designer looses all rights to its designs.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
The co-innovation contest platforms are created in a manner to make it easy to steal / get inspired from each other. The process is more or less like a brainstorming session led by an expert psychologist, trying to make you say something, that you did not think of at the first place.
Coinnovation: Coin-novation and Co-innovation through design competitions and contests
That is why these competitions are coin-novation contests rather than coinnovation competitions. They work because a percentage of designers are driven by money. They are efficient, and they indeed are very good tools for co-innovation; slightly disrespectful to designers in my opinion but great tools for companies.
How can I run a co-innovation contest? Simply contact me, and I will give you a list of dozens of platforms which you could use, or alternatively checkout's platforms section which displays all the competition platforms together with their scores.
Regarding the data: It is a survey that was run via, over 70 award winning designers responded by sharing their insights and preferences regarding design competitions, contests and awards.
Who should organize co-innovation contests? All companies, institutions and organizations that wish to procure design and innovation in an manner should organize such a competition using one of the competition platforms listed.
What is the cost of co-innovation contests? The costs are ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, not more not less and depends heavily on the type of design to be designed and objectives.
What about product customization? It is also possible using some of the platforms, a custom methodology is made so that even end-users could participate to the process as designers by using the very simple tools provided by the platform.
What about brand image? The award prize that you define can help you; if you are a good known brand you should offer a prize that matches your quality and worldwide popularity, otherwise you can offer whatever.
What about the role of designers? Professional designers do not join such competitions as they do not have time, thus these type of co-innovation competitions usually targets a younger unemployed audience which have enough time to come up and refine projects. For the younger audience, it is a chance to improve yourself, but for a professional audience, it could be considered a loss of time as paybacks are small and insignificant for a professional designer.
Which is the best competition platform? This is a though question, as each platform is focused for a specific reason and design niche, you should check the list of competition organization platforms at's relevant section.
What about designers' rights? Designers usually lose their rights to designs upon selection and sometimes upon submissions to such co-innovation contests, so we suggest the designers to be very careful about how they interact with such platforms, if you have a super-cool invention, simply do not submit it to such competitions but rather patent it yourself.
Can young designers earn money this way? My personal opinion is yes: these competitions will not compensate you at all, but after joining several of them, your skills would naturally improve, thus your talent and capacity as a designer would increase which should lead to your fees for freelancing to be increased, so yes, they could potentially help young designers to make money in future.

This article was added on Monday, 27th of January, 2014 at 05.26 am by author Onur Cobanli Tags: co-innovation, coinnovation, innovation, contests, competitions, innovation competition. Read our copyright policy here.




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