It is necessary to develop incentive systems to foster and reward collaborative partnerships between innovators. Bear in mind that the most powerful motivators to drive contribution are:

Contribution to the greater good. As long as innovations contribute to improving the community’s quality of life to some extent, this is itself highly rewarding. Intrinsic motivation is actually the primary driver, as a satisfactory result is already quite rewarding for them. To get the best out of this powerful motivator, it is good to first make potential participants envision the likely positive impacts generated by their contribution, and let them know at the end, through a publicly visible platform, the final impacts generated over time.

Peer recognition. One of the highest motivators – probably the highest – is the status and recognition attained through contributions. It is therefore crucial to find ways of recognizing contributors, rewarding them with appropriate community prestige, for instance, through the development of a reputation system based on their behaviour according to the corporate values, the quality and quantity of their contributions, including visible peer recognition related to both behaviour and contribution.

Compensation. It is necessary to think of a flexible system of compensation, according to the various motivations within the pool of innovators. It is therefore convenient to survey regularly on what contributors are interested in. Beyond financial rewards, it is convenient to find out other kinds of compensation that contributors would be willing to strive for: things that cannot be bought, like extra holidays or employee participation in executive board meetings. 

The Rewards & Reputation system would mainly focus on satisfying the last two, although contributors would also receive information about the impacts of their contributions to non-profit challenges, and these results could be shown in their platform’s professional profile.

As has already been explained, contributions could be classified between professional and non-professional, and so the Open Innovation System would work differently for either kind of contributor. Therefore, there is a differentiated operation system for the “Professional contribution system” and the “Open contribution system” (for non-professionals).

Professional contribution system. This system would operate through the following steps:

  • Appropriate credentials would have to be submitted to register in the system.
  • Individuals would be classified according to field of expertise, stating all relevant information of their professional profile, such as education, experience, skills and achievements.
  • Every solver would have a profile page explaining all their relevant professional information.
  • The profile would have to be updated at least every six months.
  • The system would provide information on the results of the participant’s contribution in the innovation system: all projects in which he/she has participated and related contribution.
  • There would be a section of the profile page for peer rating and recommendations.
  • The main information about contributions and results would be accessible to outsiders, so to help them leverage their gained reputation beyond the open innovation platform. This is to encourage contribution from the lesser known innovators who want to gain reputation in the professional community, so the innovation platform works as a marketing platform for them.

Open contribution system. This system would operate through the following steps:

  • Participants would register on a page where they could access all instructions and fill in or upload all the information or content related to their contribution.
  • In order to filter massive contributions, it could be necessary to fill in several fields answering specific questions about the adequacy of the contribution to the innovation challenge. In order to filter participants, failure to comply with the requested information would not allow the participant to progress through the contribution process nor to attempt to do so for a certain period of time. Instructions should be very clear so as to avoid mistakes.
  • Registration and uploading of the contribution should be accessible via web and app.
  • Rewards could be mostly special gifts such as overnight stays or packages, vouchers, a prize ceremony with diplomas and media exposure. Financial rewards could also be appropriate.

This article is from the White Paper “Envisioning Open Innovation in Destinations”, available for download in

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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