Understanding people’s motivations for participating in the innovation portal is key for its correct management. Since the creation of ennomotive 5 years ago, we are still having conversations with the most active members of our engineering community to make sure we understand how we can bring more value to their experience. Accordingly, we have conducted a short survey involving some community members and we have been gladly surprised with their feedback. It really makes us proud to see how the most active engineers enjoy the process of solving our challenges. Besides, the very act of participating helps them learn, grow professionally, collaborate with other people, and even connect with clients. Here is a brief summary of the 11 reasons that our engineers from different countries and professional backgrounds have included in the survey.
11 reasons to join an innovation portal and participate in the engineering challenges
1) Innovation challenges offer the opportunity to face challenges engineers do not encounter normally
The challenges we publish on ennomotive help engineers to step outside their day-to-day working routine. They are extremely diverse in nature, they range from the design of a rock bolt for Codelco Tech, to a fire detection system in forests for Cellnex or an emergency ventilator to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This diversity helps the members of our community to face new challenges while broadening their expertise. For instance, M. Gaievsky, an engineer from Ukraine who has won multiple ennomotive challenges, asked himself the question ‘Will I be able to go beyond my field and do something more?’, which motivated him to participate in these challenges.
2) An innovation portal is a safe space where an engineer can propose creative and disruptive solutions
A good example of this type of engineer is K. Grimsehl, an engineer from South Africa with a large experience in mechanical design, biomedical engineering (orthopedic implants), and clean energies (photovoltaic systems for houses), who won an award in the thermal comfort challenge by Grupo Antolin.
3) The best solutions always receive a reward
Grimsehl stated that, although challenge participants join because of the technical appeal, rewards really motivate them to push themselves and submit a legible and detailed solution.
4) The communication with the ennomotive team and challenge companies is smooth and quick
The ennomotive challenges are designed to be a collaborative effort. It is true that the solutions are developed by the participants but, for each challenge, both the company and a designated ennomotive expert take time to respond to participant questions. The ultimate goal is to reach an excellent level of understanding of the real-life problem and provide some additional data that participants might find useful to develop their solutions. Besides, at the end of every challenge, we always try to give feedback for every solution, winning and not-winning, to help engineers learn and improve the final result.
5) The challenges help companies and people in need
Our clients always give us real-life challenges whose solution has a real impact on their business as well as in the environment, the safety of their workers, etc. At the same time, ennomotive organizes some non-profit challenges to help communities, universities, and even society in general. Examples of this are the challenges launched with the ICAI Engineering Foundation, Acciona Foundation, or the UPM Racing team. Edwards, a Canadian engineer, says that he ‘loves the personal challenge of trying to solve real and meaningful problems people are having, whether they come from private industry, governments or NGOs, and whether they are specific engineering problems or global environmental issues.’ One of his main motivations is to put his efforts and talent towards something larger than himself, providing value to others.
6) Some companies and winners stay in touch once the challenge is completed
During the process of solving a challenge, companies evaluate the winners’ solutions and get to know how they work. This relationship sometimes continues once the challenge is over and the prizes have been awarded. Edwards himself has told us that some companies have kept contact with him after winning some challenges; he has even signed collaboration agreements. He finds this very motivating and encourages him to continue participating in future ennomotive challenges.
7) The open innovation challenges are well written and detailed
The description of an open innovation challenge is crucial, even more so in engineering. The ennomotive team usually works together with the client company to draft the specification and the technical data. Edwards emphasizes the good drafting of the ennomotive challenges since it allows him to understand the issue, the goal, and the type of solution required from the get-go. He and many more participants find this motivating to submit solutions to effectively solve the challenge.
8) Some challenges focus on current issues and their impact on society
The latest challenges on ennomotive have to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. One of them aims to develop easy-to-build, low-cost emergency ventilators to treat patients with coronavirus. Another challenge focuses on the development of reusable face masks that improve breathability for those who wear them to protect themselves against the virus. Edwards sees these challenges as an opportunity to showcase the potential benefits of collaborative and open innovation.
9) Solving the challenges helps engineers grow professionally
Participating in challenges of different nature helps engineers develop problem-solving skills. Besides, it is a constant learning process that allows them to be updated on new technologies, processes, materials, etc. Gaievsky is an engineer specialized in mechanics. He told us that ever since he joined the ennomotive community, he has experienced significant professional growth. Our challenges are an opportunity for him to face different problems and expand his expertise (into electronics, in his case).
10) The open innovation portal allows collaboration between engineers
Although many engineers choose to participate individually in the challenges, it is increasingly becoming more common for teams to work on them together. The teams are usually formed before they join the challenge, especially when the task requires different skills and expertise. Gaievsky shared his experience with us in this regard and he told us that, through ennomotive, he was able to get in touch with other engineers and collaborate with them inside and out of the platform. He believes this has been very positive for him personally and professionally.
11) Online challenges are an opportunity for participating in projects from all over the world
Collaborative engineering offers not only the opportunity to grow professionally but also to display your talent internationally. On one hand, the French engineer O. Loidi states that his participation in online engineering challenges has proven to be successful in terms of professional growth and becoming known in other countries. On the other hand, the Portuguese A. Mendonça highlights the diversity of the different challenges and their global openness. Read more about ennomotive’s engineering challenges and the innovation portal and participate to win cash prizes, make contacts, gain experience, and much more!