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Problem Solver FAQ


The following list of Questions and Answers will help you understand the process or working on challenges with IdeaConnection.


Q: Do you have a list of challenges available?
A: Most of our clients expect a degree of confidentiality and do not want their challenges made public. Challenges that are open to the public are listed under the Open Innovation Challenges section on our [WHAT'S NEW] page.

Q: How do I find out about new challenges?
A: When you register as a Problem Solver, you are asked to check off the areas in which you have expertise. When IdeaConnection starts a new challenge, we send invitations to Solvers who have indicated that they have expertise in the relevant area(s). Please make sure that your profile accurately reflects your areas of interest or expertise. You can update your profile [HERE].

Q: If I get an invitation, am I automatically accepted into a team?
A: When you respond to an invitation, your are asked to indicate why you are interested in the challenge and what relevant expertise you may have. IdeaConnection uses this information, along with the information in your profile to put together a well-balanced group. Some challenges have many respondents, and in these cases we may put together more than one team.

Q: I've replied to a few invitations and have not been selected to be a team member. How can I improve my chances of being selected?
A: IdeaConnection uses a number of variables to determine who makes it into a group. The best ways to improve your chances of being selected for a group are to make sure your profile is accurate and up to date, and to fill out the invitation form in a detailed and accurate way. You should also make sure to only respond to challenges where you think you can contribute to the solution.

Q: What happens if I am short-listed to be on a team?
A: When you are selected to be a potential team member, you will be sent a message asking you to read and sign an online challenge agreement within 24 hours. Once enough participants have signed the online agreement (usually 3-6 people), they will be selected to be on the team and the project will begin.

Q: What happens if I join a team and do not fill out the NDA?
A: As we usually only select enough people to fill a team, members who do not sign the online agreement delay the start of the project, as we are required to find someone else to fill the spot on team. Solvers who respond to an invitation and do not fill out the NDA without contacting us will not be invited to any further challenges.

Q: What happens when the project is started?
A: When the team has a full complement of participants (usually 3-6), a professional facilitator is assigned to the project. You will then get a "project start notice." This notice will tell you the start date (usually in 1-3 days), the due date, the name of your facilitator, a link to test your audio/visual chat, and a link to the ThinkSpace® for the challenge. This email will contain the email addresses of the other participants. At this point you should enter the times that you are available for your first meeting into the ThinkSpace® calendar.

Q: What happens if I do not participate or show up for meetings?
A: Because the groups are small, it is essential that each team member participate to the best of their ability. If you do not participate or do not show up for your meetings, you will be removed from the group and you will not be invited to any more challenges. You will also not be eligible for the award if your team's solution is accepted. If you are unable to participate for reasons outside of your control, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss.

Q: If a non-participating team member drops out or is expelled from a team, does the money they would have received get distributed to the rest of the group?
A: No, Solvers are paid as per the original offer.

Q: Who writes the solution document or proposal? What does a solution look like?
A: Once a potential solution is produced, the team will elect one or more members to write the proposal. A solution document is usually 3-9 pages, and includes enough detail to fully describe the solution and the team's reasoning, including supporting data. Some challenges will have very specific requirements – it is up to the team to carefully read the problem description and criteria contained in the ThinkSpace®. Solutions must be in Microsoft Word format, in 12-point Times-Roman font. Your facilitator will submit the final proposal to IdeaConnection.

Q: Are there some things that are important to a Solution Seeker that they might not mention?
A: Cost of implementing the solution is always a factor, and the use of environmentally hazardous materials may affect the decision.

Q: Will a Solution Seeker tell us what solutions they have already explored?
A: Clients don't like to tell you areas that they have already explored because they want you to take a fresh look. Even if they have looked at and rejected a path, it may lead you to a new solution or approach to a solution.

Q: What happens if two or more teams are working on the same challenge and come up with the same solution?
A: In the very unlikely event that two or more teams submit similar accepted solutions, the award will be split equally between the winning teams.

Q: When will I find out if our solution was accepted?
A: Companies have signed a contract that they will notify us within 30 days of an acceptance or rejection of each submitted solution. However, many solutions require scientific verification, and it can sometimes take a few months to find out the results.

Q: Our team's solution was accepted – when will we be paid?
A: If you are notified that your team's solution was accepted, shortly afterwards you will be given due diligence documents to be signed and notarized, including an employer release than must be signed by your employer (or university). After all team members have submitted their documents, it can take 30-60 days to receive payment from the Seeker. IdeaConnection sends out the awards to the Solvers, usually within 48 hours of receiving payment from the Client.

Q: Is there always a winner for each challenge?
A: Not necessarily. The client may decide to reject all solutions, in which case there will be no winner at all. On the other hand, the client may decide to accept more than one solution, in which case more than one team will win an award.

Q: How does IdeaConnection get it's income?
A: IdeaConnection only receives income from theoretical challenges if the challenge is won, and the IP is transferred. We do not collect any other fee from clients doing theoretical challenges.




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