Station Business Intelligence: How Challenges offer instant access to new ideas and innovation



“Collaboration between start-ups, entrepreneurs and businesses such as Shell New Energies is essential to accelerate a true transition to a new energy mix.” says Geert van de Wouw, Vice President Shell Ventures and recent judge at the Shell New Energy Challenge.

Imagine, a room full of developers, technologists, innovators, digital marketers, expert go-to-marketers -- all working over the course of a week to create the most out-of-the-box solutions to a problem YOU created for them solve. Challenges offer an increasingly popular mechanism to tackle emerging and/or difficult business problems and offer corporations unharnessed innovation, and exposure to new technologies without the upfront cost of building the capabilities in-house.

Challenges are relevant beyond technology firms. Companies like Johnson & Johnson host Challenges competitions designed to attract global entrepreneurial innovations in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, consumer, and global public health sectors. Station Houston helped facilitate the 1776 Challenge Cup in 2017. The 1776 Challenge Cup is a multi-city, global social impact startup challenge to identify the most innovative startups in emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems. 

There are a few key ingredients to hosting a Challenge:

  • Clearly define the business problem you want to solve.
  • Partner with a startup hub, incubator or accelerator to help you manage and promote the Challenge, as well as facilitate the identification of startups.
  • Define the winner(s) and associated prize(s). There might be one or more winners. Prizes can range from cash, pilots and contracts.

With Houston named “Top 3 American Cities of the Future” by the Financial Times, and Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner touting Houston as “the Silicon Bayou”, Houston is emerging as a national player in the innovation game. Through Challenges, Corporations can take advantage of innovation that is happening right in their own backyard, as well as throughout the world.

Want more information on Challenges and how Station Houston can help facilitate innovation in your company?