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How to run a successful idea campaign
How to run a successful idea campaign

This article describes all the activities and tips in the 4 phases for running a good mission (campaign)

Updated over a week ago

Introduction to idea campaigns

What is an idea campaign?

An idea campaign is a method of generating and collecting ideas from a large group of people, usually within an organization, to solve a specific problem/challenge or to collect ideas for a topic. Idea campaigns can help to tap into the creative potential of employees, customers, or other stakeholders, and to foster a culture of innovation.

The goal of course is to collect ideas, but engaging people on specific topics can be just as important.

You can recognize a campaign based on the temporary character. it has a start and an end. Most of the time multiple people in the campaign team run the campaign and there is a big group of people participating.

When do you use an idea campaign?

There are many reasons to start an innovation campaign. Normally campaigns are defined in the innovation plan.

The most important are:

  • Collect ideas for new projects

    • Based on Strategy goals/domains

    • Trends inspired (ideas about what we can do with AI?)

    • Technologies inspired (what can we do with blockchain?)

    • Open innovation (What ideas do people outside our company have?)

  • Within an innovation project:

    • Finding ideas to solve a problem/challenge - Ideas how we can solve X

    • Collecting ideas for implementation - How can we make sure the solution is used?

    • Technology scouting - What technology is a fit for this innovation project

  • People engagement

    • Engage people with a company/team topic - How can we increase the customer success numbers? - How can we attract people more efficiently?

    • Customer engagement - How would the future of our company look like?

Why is an innovation campaign important?

Everyone knows real knowledge and creativity can be found when connecting people (crowdsourcing). In innovation campaigns, every effort you carry out to instill changes and contribute business value is bundled into a single mission with which you can assess input, engagement, and returns consistently.

To solve a problem in the end it has always to do with getting people into motion. Like stakeholders, end users, etc. By running campaigns you make sure the right people are included in the process and communication so in the end when you start building and implementing a solution there is less resistance.

Finally, an innovation campaign is a terrific approach to produce and pick ideas that can help your firm go forward. This open innovation strategy is designed to collect ideas from a wide range of sources that may or may not be a part of the company.

In essence, innovation campaigns encourage creativity by selecting the best ideas, concepts, and solutions that will address the issues you and your customers are facing at a certain period.

Examples of using an innovation campaign for

Here are a few examples of how an innovation campaign can be used in different sectors:

  1. In a technology company: An innovation campaign can be used to gather ideas for new features, products, or services. For instance, a company might run a campaign asking employees, customers, or even the general public for ideas on what the next version of their software should include.

  2. In the healthcare sector: A hospital could run an innovation campaign to improve patient care or operational efficiency. For example, they might seek ideas from doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals on how to reduce waiting times in the emergency room.

  3. In the education sector: A school or university might use an innovation campaign to identify new teaching methods or technologies that can enhance student learning. Teachers, students, parents, and staff could all be invited to contribute their ideas.

  4. In a retail business: A retail business might run an innovation campaign to improve customer service or to identify new product lines. They might ask employees and customers for ideas on how to improve the shopping experience or what new products they'd like to see in stores.

  5. In the public sector: A city or town might run an innovation campaign to solve community problems or improve public services. Residents, businesses, and community organizations might all be asked for their ideas on how to improve public transportation, reduce waste, or enhance parks and recreation facilities.

  6. In the environmental sector: An organization could run an innovation campaign to brainstorm solutions for sustainable living or protecting natural resources. This could involve a global call to action, encouraging people from all walks of life to suggest ideas.

The key to a successful innovation campaign is not just collecting ideas, but also evaluating, implementing, and managing them effectively.

Accept MIssion and idea campaigns

With Accept Mission you can run successful innovation campaigns. In the upcoming chapters, we describe step by step how the software can help you. Practical examples are included.

4 steps to run a successful mission (campaign)

Ideal there are a couple of phases you walk through when running a campaign:

  1. Preparation - Make sure you collected all information and engaged the right people at the start

  2. Mission start - the official start (kickoff) of the campaign. form that point the ideas drop in

  3. Score & select - Filtering, grouping, and scoring the ideas to in the end make the best selection.

  4. Mission end - Communicate the final results and start the projects.

The duration from step 1 to step 4 can be 1 week (every step a day) up to 4 weeks (1 week per step). Of course, it is possible to do it very quickly in 1 or 2 days or way longer to extend it to 6 to 8 weeks. Be careful the longer it takes the more energy gets lost and it costs more time to keep connecting with the stakeholders you need to succeed.

IMPORTANT: This article is about all the things you can do to run a successful innovation campaign. It is on you of course to select the elements that resonate for you to get success. Sometimes you want to do a quick mission and sometimes you want to use all elements that are possible.

PHASE 1: Preparation

A good preparation will save you a lot of time and adjustments (pivots) later on.

Define the target group

Define the target groups carefully. In the end, it is the goal of your campaign to collect ideas and then make a decision to follow up on the right ideas.

  • Mission leader - The person who is the project leader of the campaign.

  • Mission core team - The people who are in the core team will do the preparation, follow up on the ideas, score and select the right ideas, and make sure communication is done.

  • Business owner - The person or persons from the business who decides what ideas are the best to execute.

  • Participants - The people you are going to include to let them participate in the mission to add ideas and to collaborate on ideas.

  • Experts - These people can be used to focus the personal communication to make sure they add their ideas. Also, this group can be used to help to enrich and score ideas.

TIP: It could be handy to include the communication, marketing, and legal departments on time.

What is the mission question?

The question of the mission is one of the most important topics to spend time on in the preparation. There is an important rule in this: The more smart you make the question (briefing) the better people can relate and understand what you need and the more and better ideas you will get. Dare to be specific.

In the end, you want the business owner can decide on what ideas to follow up on and get implemented. So the key thing is to define this role and to investigate what is the main topic you want to solve.

A way to do this is to do some research on the situation, problem, and use cases that this is happening. The more you know about the situation, the better you understand the problem, and the better you scope the mission to more laser-focused the mission will become!

Planning of the campaign

Both for the core team and the stakeholders it is important to understand what the planning is of the campaign. The level of detail of the planning can vary. We always advise you to make sure you plan everything out and be flexible in practice to adjust to changes only if it is needed. The problem of not having a planning is that campaigns can take too much time to get it finished and people lose interest. Planning is also a good input for all kinds of communication. For example, when asking participants to add ideas it is always better to work with a deadline. So people will not forget and you can easily send them a reminder. Also, many people you need in the process have other things on their agenda/planning. If you don't plan accordingly you take a big risk in missing the input of important people you need in the process.

Goals and KPIs

Expectation management is an important aspect of running a successful mission. The end goal of a mission is most of the time primarily the ability to choose one or maybe multiple ideas to follow up on. Secondary goals can be active people, ideas, etc., If you expect too high numbers or the question of the business owner (problem) is too high then a mission can be difficult to finish successfully.

What you should try to avoid:

  • The business owner hopes to find a golden egg idea - golden eggs do not exist. try to find a reasonable opening (scope) of the case. If you cannot think about a minimum of 1 idea yourself on the case then the campaign is too challenging.

  • Expectations of unique ideas have never been done in the world - Innovation Is not about doing inventions. Execution is the essence of a successful innovation.

  • To high expectations in number of ideas - even if you get to the finish line people can feel a bit down because the number of ideas is not met.

  • Too high expectations in user activity

For most items in the goals and KPIs, it has mostly to do with the right communication (on time) and the activity of the core team. Some people think the campaign is run for themself. This is never the case. The stone first needs to roll and then you need to steer it in the right direction and you need to keep rolling it.

  • Number of people reached in communication

  • Number of participants (active users)

  • Number of ideas (conversion)

  • Number of likes

  • Number of comments

  • Number of ideas viewed

  • Number of ideas per user


Selecting prizes, incentives, and recognition mechanisms to motivate participants to spend time and effort developing new ideas.

Be specific in what you would like to reward. The software rewards users with activity. That means it provides Experience Points (XP) based on views, ideas, comments, and likes). The leaderboard of users shows you who is the most active in the mission. This is sometimes better than rewarding the person with the best idea. Because the group itself is the 'owner' of the idea instead of only 1 person.

These elements you can reward people on:

  • Best idea based on likes

  • Best idea based on the scores of the campaign team

  • Best idea based on the end of result of the mission

  • User with the most XP

What participants do you invite to participate?

The ideas and insights you acquire from innovation campaigns may influence your brand’s plans and strategies for the next few years. That’s why these insights must come from appropriate sources.

Considerations for choosing the target groups:

  • Working with the software you can always include more people. It will not cost you extra time to handle extra people in your campaign.

  • The more personal you can communicate with people the more activity you will get.

  • If you select too less people this can result in too less ideas or less creativity because of a lack of diversity.

  • If you select too many people who are too far from the subject then this can have a bad influence on the innovation mindset. As in maybe they lose interest because they feel they cannot contribute.

  • Sometimes it is needed to get formal approval to communicate with other departments, external people, customers, or even the whole company. Include the right people. The sooner the better.

How to reach the participants?

Inviting an audience to engage with your innovation campaign or initiative can be done through various channels and strategies.

Here are some tips to help you effectively invite and engage your audience:

  1. Identify your target audience: Determine who you want to invite to participate in your innovation campaign. This could include employees, customers, partners, suppliers, or the general public. Be clear about who you want to reach and why they are important to your innovation efforts.

  2. Craft a compelling message: Create a clear and engaging message that explains the purpose of your innovation campaign and what you hope to achieve. Highlight the benefits of participating, such as the opportunity to contribute to something meaningful, solve pressing problems, or even win prizes or recognition.

  3. Use multiple communication channels: Leverage various channels to reach your target audience. This may include email, social media, newsletters, blog posts, webinars, or physical events. Using multiple channels increases the likelihood of reaching and engaging your target audience.

  4. Create an appealing mission: Ensure that the mission in the software is appealing. Use images, and clear briefing (Use the built-in AI tool), accessible for all users.

  5. Leverage influencers and ambassadors: Collaborate with influencers, industry leaders, or internal ambassadors who can help spread the word about your innovation campaign. They can help amplify your message and encourage others to participate.

  6. Provide incentives and rewards: Offer incentives to motivate people to participate. This could include monetary rewards, recognition, or opportunities for personal or professional growth. Make sure the rewards align with your target audience's values and interests.

  7. Set a clear timeline and deadline: Communicate the timeline and deadline for participating in your innovation campaign. This creates a sense of urgency and encourages people to submit their ideas within the specified time frame.

  8. Provide ongoing updates and support: Keep your audience informed about the progress of your innovation campaign, and offer support throughout the process. This could include sharing updates via email, social media, or blog posts, as well as providing resources, guidance, or assistance as needed.

  9. Show appreciation and celebrate success: Recognize and celebrate the contributions of your audience, and express gratitude for their involvement. Share stories of success, showcase the best ideas, and demonstrate the impact their participation has made.

By using these strategies, you can effectively invite and engage your target audience in your innovation campaign, fostering a collaborative environment that encourages creativity, problem-solving, and continuous improvement.

How to stimulate activity

Stimulating activity in an innovation campaign, or any other initiative, requires strategic planning and proactive engagement. Here are some strategies to stimulate activity:

  1. Set clear goals and expectations: Communicate the goals of the innovation campaign and what is expected from the participants. When people understand the "why" behind the campaign, they are more likely to get involved.

  2. Regular communication: Keep participants informed about the progress of the campaign. Regular updates, whether through emails, newsletters, or social media posts, help keep the initiative top of mind.

  3. Incentivize participation: Incentives can motivate participants to engage more deeply with the campaign. These incentives can take many forms, such as recognition, monetary rewards, or opportunities for professional development.

  4. Provide resources and support: Provide resources and tools that participants need to engage with the campaign. This could include educational resources, brainstorming tools, or collaboration platforms. Make sure participants feel supported throughout the process.

  5. Promote collaboration: Encourage participants to collaborate and share ideas. This could be facilitated through group brainstorming sessions, online forums, or collaborative workspaces.

  6. Showcase success stories: Highlighting successful ideas and outcomes from the campaign can inspire others to participate. Show how these ideas have had a positive impact.

  7. Encourage friendly competition: Some healthy competition can spark activity and engagement. This might involve leaderboards, awards, or challenges.

  8. Provide feedback: Participants will be more likely to stay engaged if they feel their contributions are valued. Provide constructive feedback on ideas and suggestions.

  9. Facilitate interactive events: Host workshops, webinars, or virtual meetups where participants can interact, share ideas, and get inspired.

  10. Create a safe environment: Foster a culture where everyone feels safe to share their ideas, regardless of their position or level of experience. Ensure that all ideas are respected and valued.

The key to stimulating activity is to make the innovation campaign an engaging, rewarding, and enjoyable experience for all participants.

Configuring the mission (campaign in Accept Mission)

Per mission you run you can choose to create a separate idea funnel or connect the mission to one of the existing funnels. If you are not sure then choose to create a separate funnel. You can always move ideas from funnel to funnel.

After creating a funnel you can set up the right process of the campaign in your stage & settings of the funnel. Ideas will always be dropped into the first lane (Idea submitted). After that, you can have multiple stages and gates that follow your enrichment, filter, and scoring process.

Do a pilot of the mission

The pilot of the mission makes sure you can test:

  • The technical process of logging in

  • The communication if people understand what is expected

  • The links are working to the software

  • Change the mindset in the target group

A representative group that is not close to the campaign group. About 20 people for a valid pilot test

Try to look over the shoulder to see what users do when receiving the communication and what is difficult.

Make sure technology (single sign-on) is working and people can enter the platform via a desktop browser and by mobile phone (inside and outside the company).

Final, things to consider

These things you should consider in the campaign:

  • Nobody wants to be the first to add an idea to a mission. Make sure there are already a minimum of three ideas in the mission.

  • The more personal you can get the communication the better the result. This has to do with the sender and also the message inside

  • Do align with the right stakeholders/business owners/communications department to align the communication.

  • The Mission core team should be set up and a minimum of two people are in it. this makes sure fewer blind spots are there.

  • The campaign needs to be proactive. After launching the mission the work starts to get as many people in movement.

PHASE 2: Mission start

The first hours and 24 hours are essential

To get this stone (mission) rolling (activity and ideas) the first hours and the first 24 hours are essentials. Participants who accept the invite to participate will at first be curious about what is happening in the mission. If they see activity they will be extra motivated to also participate. Therefore the first hours and 24 hours are essential to make sure there is activity in new ideas. This is a thing you are a core team can and should arrange.

Lead by example

Execute the communication planning

  • Send reminders

  • Walk the office to stimulate people to add ideas

Make use of the leaderboard (report)

The mission offers an extended report on the progress of the mission. In this report you can see:

  • Number of active people, ideas, comments, likes, favorites

  • The top 10 ideas

  • The top 10 users based on XP, ideas likes, comments

  • Ideas in time (days/months)

  • Views in time (days/months)

  • Word cloud

You can use the progress of the Top ideas based on likes or the top users based on XP (experience points) to stimulate people to get active.

Follow up on ideas

Following up on ideas is a crucial part of the innovation campaign process. Once ideas have been generated, they need to be reviewed, enriched, scored, selected, and reported on.

This systematic approach ensures that every idea is given due consideration and that the most promising ones are developed further.

This process not only helps to identify the best solutions to the challenges at hand but also fosters a culture of transparency and engagement, encouraging ongoing participation in innovation initiatives.

The ultimate aim is to harness the collective creativity and intelligence of the participants, turning innovative ideas into practical, impactful solutions.

To be specific:

  1. Review ideas: Once ideas have been generated and collected, they need to be thoroughly reviewed. This involves going through each idea to understand it and assess its relevance to the campaign's objectives. At this stage, it's about understanding the potential of the ideas and not about judging them. All ideas should be given fair consideration.

  2. Enrich ideas: This involves expanding upon and refining the ideas that have been gathered. It might involve collaborative sessions where teams discuss the ideas in depth, adding details or making improvements. It can also include seeking feedback from other stakeholders or experts or combining similar ideas to create a more robust solution. The purpose is to take raw ideas and develop them into more comprehensive and practical solutions.

  3. Score ideas: After enriching the ideas, the next step is to score or rank them. This involves evaluating each idea based on a set of predefined criteria. The criteria might include things like feasibility, potential impact, alignment with strategic goals, cost, time to implement, and potential risks. This process helps to objectively compare the ideas and determine which ones are most worth pursuing.

  4. Select ideas: Based on the scoring, the most promising ideas are selected for further development or implementation. This decision should be made by a diverse group of stakeholders, including those who will be responsible for implementing the idea and those who will be affected by it. It's important to ensure transparency and fairness in this process.

  5. Report campaign results: After the ideas have been selected, it's important to communicate the results of the innovation campaign. This involves reporting on the process, the number and quality of ideas generated, the ideas that have been selected, and the next steps. This communication should be shared with all participants and other stakeholders to acknowledge their contributions, celebrate the outcomes, and maintain enthusiasm for future innovation efforts.

Every step in this process is crucial.

Reviewing ensures no idea is overlooked, enriching develops ideas into viable solutions, scoring provides an objective basis for comparison, selecting ensures the best ideas are chosen for implementation, and reporting maintains transparency and engagement in the innovation process.

PHASE 3: Score & Select

When you collected many ideas in a funnel then it is now time to evaluate this idea and to move them up in the funnel. Funnels are built to move ideas from left to right. Standard new ideas get the status ACTIVE and In the end, ideas can get the status ON HOLD (waiting for later action), DENIED (no further action).

If you have not that much ideas to do the selection then you can do one on one scoring. But when you work in a team and/or there are many ideas to score then a proven and efficient process can be followed.

Optimize the funnel to help you in the follow up process

Make sure you configure the Funnel in a good way. For example when all ideas are in the first lane, you can create follow-up lanes to categorize ideas.

Example lanes that could help In the selection process / follow up process:

  • Interesting - Ideas that directly are interested to proceed the funnel

  • Maybe - You have some doubts and these ideas need to be discussed in the team

  • Denied - Ideas that are out of scope, they are not interesting.

  • Archive / On Hold - Out of scope but interesting for later.

  • <person> - Allocate ideas for a specific person in the team to pick it up / evaluate

  • Enrich - These ideas need to be enriched (see next steps)

  • Expert review - All ideas that need to go through an expert jury to evaluate

You can find more information about funnel management here: How to: Funnel Management

Idea process to review ideas by the right people

You might understand that if you execute these actions for hundreds of ideas then this is very time-consuming. So therefore the following process can we executed:

  • Hygiene filter - Quick scan through the ideas to group simular ideas and to remove garbage.

  • Idea enrichment en score - Enricht the title, content and set the idea score

  • Group decision - You can execute extra selection rounds

Hygiene filter

The main thing about the hygiene filter process it to check every idea and do the intake if the ideas are within scope. You define here what ideas you ignore in the evaluation process. This saves a lot of time in the following process steps.

the main questions to ask per idea in this filter process is:

  • Is the idea interesting in the right funnel? -> If not move it to another funnel

  • Is the idea within the scope for execution? -> Drag idea to denied stage

  • Are there any other related ideas? -> Merge or Bundle ideas

  • Who is the best person on the team to do follow-up? -> Set the owner.

Idea enrichment & score

Before you can Enricht the idea:

  • Optimize the title so it is recognizable and fits the subject

  • Optimize the description text

  • Add the right tags to the idea

  • Score the idea with the scoring block

  • Assign the right Owener (Innovator who will guide the idea)

  • Place the idea in the right lane to follow up / represent he stage/gate in the pro

  • Score the ideas based on the scoring criteria

  • Optional: Set the right custom fields

Manage Funnel score

To set the scoring criteria for this funnel go to [Funnel settings] and then the tab: Scoring. Here you see all the scoring criteria available for your company. If you need a new criteria you first have to create it on the company level (Settings > Score management > add score).

Manage custom fields

To set the custom fields for ideas in this funnel go to [Funnel settings] and then the tab: Custom fields. Here you see all the custom fields available for your company. If you need a new custom field you first have to create it on the company level (Settings > Custom fields > add field).

Impact graph

After scoring the ideas all ideas will be plotted in the impact graph in the funnel. You can adjust the configuration of this graph based on the scoring fields available in the funnel (Open the Graph View > GRAPH SETTINGS)

Group Decision making

When scoring an idea in the idea detail then you score the idea 1-on-1. This means If you score the idea and someone else is opening the idea it will see you score and can adjust that if needed.

Typically scenarios where you can make use of group decision-making:

  • Campaign team review - let the team score on all ideas or a subset of ideas to define what ideas will be enriched or what ideas will proceed to the next step in the funnel.

  • Expert Review - Send a subset of the ideas to a group of experts to review the ideas because they have more in-depth expertise and can help in the feasibility, viability, risks, or technical aspects of the ideas.

  • Management/Board/jury review - Let the management/business owners do a scoring of a subset of the ideas. With this you do not surprise them with proposals but they become a part of the process and with this, you create buy-in.

Accept Mission also provides a Group decision-making tool. The tool is named: Selection and based on IDEAS, CRITERIA, and a list of PEOPLE you can start a selection mission. Every person scores every idea based on all the criteria. And a beautiful report presents back the end score.

Follow this guide to run a successful group decision-making mission

PHASE 4: Mission end

You end up in the funnel with ideas that are denied, approved or on hold. The winning ideas are logically transformed into ideas.

Start a project from an idea

When creating a project based on an idea then the idea becomes automatically connected to the project:

Open an idea > ACTION > Start Project

Mission Report

This mission report shows you all the relevant information about the mission you ran:

Top Ideas, top people, XP, views, likes, comments, important tags, tagcloud, scoring, etc.

Open Mission > [REPORT]

Funnel Report

This funnel report shows you all the relevant information about the mission you ran:

Ideas per lane, Duration per lane, Ideas, top people, XP, views, likes, comments, important tags, tagcloud, scoring, etc.

Open Mission > [REPORT]

Selection report

This Selection report shows you the average score per idea, score per idea per person, score idea per criteria, all user's progress, top 3 per user, etc.

Open Selection Mission > [REPORT]

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