TV game shows may have declined in recent years, but idea contests are riding a wave among big corporations. Competitions often arise when problems loom large and times are tough, so no surprise they are currently on the uptick. Encouraged by the ease and success of cloud computing and crowd sourcing, many major corporations see competitions as a spur to innovation, solving problems big and small.
Consumer companies have jumped into the fray with both feet. Starbucks has its "My Starbucks Idea" invitation, asking customers and employees to suggest ideas "revolutionary or simple," resulting in something as basic as a new flavor or as practical as a domed lid on its cups to house the whipped cream. Procter & Gamble is reaching out through its Connect & Develop program to "accelerate innovation" globally through partnerships with small companies to add value to P&G products.