Bloomberg Business Week featured a story this week on the idea submission and evaluation process for strategies to deal with the BP Gulf oil spill. The magazine reports that as of last week, some 35,000 ideas had been submitted within the first month of the crisis. Offered online and via phone, each idea represents its submitter's strategy for how to effectively address the spill and the rapidly expanding long-term ramifications.
The story includes a diagram of the idea vetting process. The 35,000 submissions have yielded about 800 ideas seen as practical and currently untried. A roughly 2% ratio would be low for a structured innovation session, but maybe it isn't out of line for a full-on crowdsourced idea submission process such as the one underway for this crisis.
One hurdle criteria you'd expect to be up front in the evaluation strategy process is whether an idea is coming from an established company active in related technologies or industries. It seems an idea from someone in the business should get priority consideration for evaluation ahead of an individual with an idea coming in over the transom.
Based on reactions to the evaluation process, however, it's tough to tell what some of the early stage criteria might be. While the story focuses on two entrepreneurs with products they claim aren't getting due attention, it also notes that of 4 possibilities currently in testing, two ideas under consideration originated with Academy Award winners (James Cameron and Kevin Costner). So who is submitting the idea may play a role, and if you can open with big box office results, you obviously get to the front of the line. - Mike Brown