The Betterific Blog

Connecting consumers with brands to crowdsource and innovate on product ideas.


Winners Announced for the Nature Conservancy Brainstorm Challenge


We’re pleased to announce the winners of The Nature Conservancy’s Demarcate the Lake innovation challenge.  Out of 80 ideas submitted, 25 were considered “unique and actionable.”  That’s a 31% quality rating!  Amazing.  Because of the scientific nature of this challenge, we were worried that the Betterific community would not be suited for the challenge.  Boy were we proven wrong.

When we run non-consumer oriented challenges, we always supplement the Betterific solvers by recruiting solvers with specific skillsets.  Fun fact: 40% of the unique and actionable solutions were provided by the original Betterific members, and 60% by the newer members of the community.

If you’re interested in the process: Over a 6 week period, 80 ideas were submitted.  TNC and Sensis Challenges did the first review of the ideas – each idea was either Dead or Alive.  We then invited five judges, a mix of subject matter experts and field operators, to bring that number down to 10.  The third and final round involved all five judges discussing the merits of the top 10 ideas.

The themes that emerged were tech-enabled buoys, mobile apps, solar and GPS solutions, and aeronautic solutions.  The final solution will likely take elements of the top ideas.

The Grand Prize goes to Kashyap G, who submitted the top idea using a mix of RFID and small ocean-based buoys linked through steel cable and glow in the dark paint.  In short: The buoys’ RFID and Bell system are powered by a cable running through the connections all the way to the M.M.N.P at either end where there is a solar panel array and battery pack.

As the grand prize winner, Kashyap wins $800 and bragging rights!  Here’s an image he put together.


The runners up were:

M SarkarDonna LeGoo, Grace Charles, Sylvia Busby

Congrats to The Nature Conservancy and all participants in a successful crowdsourcing challenge.

Leave a comment

Re imagining Gala Fundraising efforts

Partnering with Deloitte’s Pixel division, we worked with a Diabetes non-profit to dream up ways to rethink Gala Fundraising.

Gala fundraisers are always the same – you throw on a suit (or a tux if you’re fancy), eat fancy chicken by the bay, and participate in a silent auction.  How can we bring some innovation to this experience?  We crowdsourced ideas among Betterific’s design thinking community and sourced over 80 unique ideas in under a week.

Betterific’s crowdsourcing was one part of the overall research. Deloitte also interviewed employees of the non-profit, current donors and potential donors, and Diabetes patients.  They built personas to build empathy to set the stage of possibilities.  With that backdrop we hosted the fundraising gala innovation challenge on Betterific.

The biggest take-away was that fundraisers should be more experiential. Beyond the diabetes patient at the gala, how can we really bring both the non-profit, the cause and the patient stories to life?  Some suggested giving donors the experience of a diabetes patient – with apps or blood sugar check-ins.  Pop up shops, partnerships with startups, and education based events were also very popular.  The concept of owning the No-Sugar movement also intrigued the non-profit.

We hosted a brainstorming session with the non-profit to dig deep into the specific ideas, the themes and build on the concepts.  That is where the magic happens!  Using the Betterific community’s ideas as the lift-off point.

Congratulations to Lawrence Phipps, who won the challenge!  The Runners up prizes went to Lizabeth Barclay, Nuria Rovira Costas, Cheryl Noll, and Edward Drakhlis.  Their ideas are below!

Top idea:

the gala organizer partnered with an innovative manufacture of glucose monitoring devices (such as Verily, Dexcom, OneTouch or even Apple) to design an event experience that exposes all attendees to what it’s like to continuously monitor their blood sugar levels? For example, attendees could be tested before and after dinner. Or test results could be printed on their photobooth pictures.

Runner Ups:

at the gala participants were given a buzzer (like the ones you get when waiting for a table),or have them download a gala app. participants would be buzzed in order to understand aspects of diabetes…time to eat, time to test, etc. This would drive home the impact on the individual during a day.

the philanthropy had an app that donors could download for updates on the impact of gifts (research funding, patients seen, etc.)

before the Gala, there was a health challenge just for young people (under 25 or 30), focused on ideas for helping diabetes patients having a better life. A part of donors’ fundraising would be for developing that idea, and some donors would be chosen, in a draw, for being part of the jury. Similar to Ashoka Health challenge:

At the gala, not only financial commitment but time commitment would be sought? With the time commitment, the donor would call or email or post on social media the benefits of donating to this charity? Even a time commitment of 15 minutes per month could help others in their circle of influence to donate

A virtual-reality booth was set up at the gala to experience some of the symptoms of diabetes? Ie. high sugar, low sugar, retinopathy (eye problems)

Partnerships with large sports organizations (the way that Breast Cancer Awareness partners with the NFL) would promote awareness to a large audience at regular intervals over extended periods of the year. Under Armour owns the fitness tracking app My Fitness Pal and already has a sponsorship relationship with multiple sports organizations. Developing a relationship with Under Armour could allow the non-profit access to both the users of their fitness app, as well as sports fans. These would be perfect platforms for raising awareness and spreading the organization’s mission, long term.

non-profits engaged donors with more transparency and allowed them choose exactly how their donation was used? With a registry/wish-list style directory donors can choose what they want to contribute to the organization. There could be a list of what is needed to accomplish the non-profit’s mission like lab equipment, new research facility, drug manufacturing, and even general administration if someone doesn’t want to choose. This can get as granular as needed so people feel like they contributed something meaningful and know exactly what it was. Those people should be acknowledged in some way depending on what they contributed.

Money could be loaned at 0%!interest if donors would prefer? The non-profit could either use those funds instead of borrowing money from the bank, therefore saving the interest that would be paid or if not needed, put in a CD and collect the interest?

Leave a comment

Interview with an Innovator: Dennis G Pitcock

Today, we welcome Dennis Pitcock to the innovator’s circle.  Dennis has been the runners up a number of times and recently won one of our Private Innovation Challenges around energy bars.  Congrats!  Dennis is not just an ideator and a brainstormer, but he’s an entrepreneur.  It’s no wonder he continually ranks at the top of our crowdsourcing competitions.  He’s also got a killer beard and great taste in t-shirts.  See below to learn more about his startup, his hopes for Betterific and some inspiration when it comes to brainstorming on Betterific.  We’ve really taken a liking to the Google Talk he references below on creativity – thanks for the tip.


Micha: What do you do when you’re not brainstorming on Betterific? Dennis G. Pitcock: Teaching myself how to code and build a startup called Jauntify. Betterific is a great way to take a break from it all and keep my mind fresh.

MW: Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t know from your resume. DGP: I love to travel but hate spending too little time at one place. I like to stay somewhere for at least a month, and really get to know the people and culture, and feel like a local.

MW: What books do you recommend on ideation, creativity or innovation? DGP: I really want to read David Burkus “The Myths of Creativity”. I watched his Google Talk on Youtube and he was great. Perhaps I’ll use this giftcard to finally get it.

MW: What BIG idea are you thinking about/sitting on?  DGP: Already there with a super eary stage startup that is transitioning from the project phase to a business phase. We, at Jauntify, are trying to make it easier for you to find and compare things to do before you travel. We’re up and running for the Philadelphia area now, and can’t wait to grow and really take on this challenge

MW: When you get an invitation to join a Betterific innovation challenge, how do you approach the challenge?  Any good techniques you want to share? DGP: I read the challenge 2 or 3 times to make sure I didn’t miss something which could easily be done in all the new-challenge-excitement. Also, being the first person lay down the good idea really gives you an advantage. I believe good ideas come to anyone, so you have to get yours up fast.

MW: What have you enjoyed most about the Betterific platform? And what do you like most about the community? DGP: I like how people add comment on ideas. This challenge was excelllent in getting the community engaged. I try to comment often and hope others are motivated to comment more too. Everyone has their good ideas, but by bouncing these ideas off like minded people is what makes them become great.

MW: If you were CEO for a day, what would you improve about the platform? DGP: I’d try to make it more collaborative than competitive, motivating people to work together to beat the challenge. I feel like the competitiveness is hindering the innovation potential. It seems as if (especially on the earlier challenges), some members were hesitant to upvote or comment on competing ideas, which might win. The lesser the upvotes, the lesser visibility an idea could get, and the lesser the comments, the less an idea could be refined. There most likely is the perfect blend of competition and collaboration that applies to each challenge. I remember the first time I played the ‘Pandemic’ board game, where we all had to work together. It was fun and it would be great to see this kind of collaboration taking on innovation too.

Leave a comment

Interview with an Innovator: Luc Michaud

Betterific members are a diverse crowd – gender, age, location and occupation…  We like to maintain this diversity to allow for cross pollination.  One of our core beliefs is that great ideas come from people with different perspectives, outlooks and specialties.  Which is why crowdsourcing is so critical.

Luc Michaud brings a unique voice as a pharmacist.  He’s won a number of innovation competitions and won the grand prize of the Singularity Civic Engagement Innovation Challenge.   His approach to the innovation challenges is very methodical and we’re glad that he gave us a window into his systematic process – he goes through a litany of questions to see how to make the product simpler, more social, more fun… See below for the full list.  He’s also got great ideas on how to improve Betterific – and his desire for “private challenges” was just realized in our Name that Nutrition Bar private challenge.



MW: What do you do when you’re not brainstorming on Betterific? Luc Michaud (LM): I work as a full-time pharmacist, I like to spend time with family (I’m married and have 2 teenage girls and one beagle), reading, and writing my first book.

MW: Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t know from your resume. LM: I am a part-time minister

MW: What books do you recommend on ideation, creativity or innovation? LM: Cracking Creativity: The secrets of creative genius by Michael Michalko

MW: What BIG idea are you thinking about/sitting on?  LM: I have this idea for a phone case that would make your phone able to take pictures while the phone is horizontal. Sometimes, you don’t want to make it obvious that you’re taking a picture.

MW: When you get an invitation to join a Betterific innovation challenge, how do you approach the challenge?  LM: I look at what we value most and brainstorm as to how to improve these different aspects with this challenge:
How could we save money?
How could we save time?
How could we decrease hassle?
How could we make this more social?
How could we make it more fun?
How could we make it more aesthetically pleasing?
How could we make it more environmentally friendly?
How could we make it more family-friendly?

MW: What have you enjoyed most about the Betterific platform? LM:  I like the Betterific challenge because it helps me focus on how to improve one specific product.  I like being part of a group that values creativity. Creativity is so important and I love reading how others were able to think outside the box.

MW: If you were CEO for a day, what would you improve about the platform? LM:
– I would make it easier to read the different ideas posted. I would have an “editor’s choice” for the week as to what ideas were the best according to the Betterific team. I would also give the ability to subscribe to certain topics that we’re particularly interested in. The tags are good, but sometimes too narrow.
– I really like the challenges, but I would also like to see some collaboration. Why not put both of those together? How about a national competition where different teams would compete against each other?
– It would be good to have one Betterific Challenge every week. What if the weeks that there are no sponsors, non-profits would be allowed to post a challenge and the prize for these would be bragging rights?
– Allow private (by invitation only) Betterific challenges? Some sponsors would rather keep the ideas confidential to protect the idea
– Create an app or website or game to get children involved with Betterific. Kids are the most creative!
I guess I’s need more than one day as CEO to implement all these!

Leave a comment

Winners announced for the Civic Engagement Innovation Competition

Our “Hacking Civic Engagement” Challenge was a first for us in many respects.  It was the first time we’ve done a civic (non product) challenge.  It was the first time we partnered with Singularity University – the institution that believes in exponential thinking based on the exponential growth of technology.  And perhaps most importantly, it was the first time we crowdsourced a concept from beginning to end.

With the help of Deloitte’s Pixel division we collaborated with Topcoder.  Ideas were conceived of by the Betterific community, winners were chosen by Pixel, and passed them on–along with design specs–to the designers at Topcoder.  In 48 hours, they received 25 app designs.  deloittepixel_splash

Quick shoutout to the winners of the ideation competition: Luc Michaud (grand prize winner), Metro Power Yoga, Marla Goodman and Dennis Pitcock.  Check out their winning ideas below.

The process and the results were presented at the Singularity University Global Summit.  The winners were announced by the CEO of Xprize and Balaji Bondili, from Pixel.


Crowdsourcing is the way of the future – and more and more companies are jumping aboard.  Having a platform at Singularity University’s Global Summit was like a coming out party for Betterific and collaborating with Pixel and Topcoder presents a huge opportunity moving forward.

Top Ideas:

A Betterific-like app (with challenges) was developed specifically to help government leaders/ policy makers think outside the box to solve important issues? Example: the mayor could have a challenge on how to reduce the many potholes without extra $

An app where people can upload photos and videos of hazards and issues, tag them, geotag them, and have them upvoted to be addressed by a local government. It also helps the community solve their own issues such as a lost pet.

I could subscribe to political updates/news according to topic, location, political person and get those texted to me or available in an app as they happen or daily or weekly

An app that allowed you to report a problem (such as a tree uprooting the concrete on an easement) and the app would automatically notify the appropriate agencies.  The app would keep you updated of the status.
Time lapse video showing the topcoder designers at work!

Leave a comment

Brainstorming with Innovator Thomas Williams

In today’s installment of “Brainstorming with Innovator” we invite one of our most prolific and active members, Thomas Williams.  Tom has been a member of the site for at least a year and since joining he has been a phenomenal source of innovation and a deep well of ideas. He has made a name for himself on the platform and is part of a unique and dynamic duo – his wife, Kelly Williams is just as creative and innovative.  As a member of Betterific myself, it’s fun to see how they bounce ideas off each other and build upon each other’s ideas.  Tom recently won the grand prize for the ibeer challenge.

Read on below to learn more about how Tom comes up with his ideas, the process he uses to brainstorm on Betterific, and why he continues to participate in our innovation and idea generation competitions.  Interestingly, Tom suggests that we run a Betterific challenge on Betterific, which is a great idea.  Well, Tom, you’ve got it.  When we launch our new site, we’ll kick it off with a meta-Betterific challenge!

Grill pictureMW: What do you when you’re not brainstorming on Betterific? Thomas Williams (TW): I work in the communications industry, I design networks and sell the components that make up the networks. I make computers talk to each other. I have always been a bit of a nerd and enjoy the tec
hnical aspects of computers and networking.

MW: Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t know from your resume. TW:  I am a navy veteran who likes to eat.  I am married to a fantastic cook who makes the best hamburgers (my favorite food), I like to bake cakes, and used to love to Disco Dance .

MW: Betterific members are ideas people!  If you’re open to it, what BIG idea are you thinking about/sitting on?  TW: I am constantly thinking of new ideas for computer networking, how to solve everyday problems people might have with their own networks at home or in the office.

MW: When you get an invitation to join a Betterific innovation challenge, how do you approach the challenge? TW: I try to brainstorm everything I can think of that could possibly be a match for what they are looking for. I check my ideas against ideas that have been posted, then I use a simple Google search to make sure it is original.  Then I talk to my wife Kelly, and bounce the idea off of her for confirmation that image1the idea is not totally pathetic. I have also spent the time to draw out a really good idea and present the drawing with the idea as backup .

 MW: Where do your “good ideas come from?” TW: My best ideas come as sparks.  They come from personal experiences and needs, and just smack me upside the head, a ohh wow moment.

 MW: What have you enjoyed most about the Betterific platform? And what do you like most about the community?  TW: It is fun coming up with and sharing the ideas on a social platform where you get feedback on your ideas. Helping others to possibly fine tune their betterif. The interaction with other members is a great part of Betterific. Also seeing some really great ideas from others and then actually seeing some of those ideas come to market like the ones from the Target Back to School Challenge.

MW: If you were CEO of Betterific for a day, what would you improve about the platform? TW: The first thing I would do is start a new challenge! A Betterific challenge for Betterific, getting all the members input as to how to improve it. Second I would allow more characters to be included to describe a betterif. Possibly allow the attachment of a file or .dwg to better convey your idea. Finally I would implement a marketing program to get better branding and visibility for Betterific. More people need to know about the platform and get involved!

To participate in our crowdsourced idea generation challenges, please sign up for our site!  If you’re a brand and want to run an innovation challenge, please check out our enterprise site.

Leave a comment

The winners of the Lipstick Idea Generation Competition Revealed

Let’s get down to business.  Our Lipstick innovation and idea generation competition wrapped up a couple weeks ago and we want to give a quick recap.

66 Ideas.  A whopping 38%  of them  were deemed innovative and actionable by the sponsoring brand.  Great job Betterific community!

Grand Prize winner ($400): Kathy Russell

Runners Up ($25): Luc Michaud, Lizabeth BarclayLaura BelinfanteKathryn Savvides.

They are actively researching a number of the ideas submitted and have already committed to a second crowdsourced innovation competition! Stay tuned.

In the meantime, our Sterilite Mobility Challenge is live.  It ends on Tuesday.  Get in there and submit your ideas to make storage more mobile.