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Dan Neville of Idea Bounty

An interview with Idea Bounty’s Dan Neville

Dan Neville of Idea Bounty

IDEA BOUNTY’s Dan Neville on the Innovation Conference 2010 JHB

On the 21st and 22nd of July, the Hilton Hotel in Sandton will host delegates at the Innovation Conference 2010. Dan Neville will be presenting IDEA BOUNTY and the concept of crowd sourcing before the delegates as a South African success story in innovation. This is a Q&A with him.

1. Why is the conference called “The Burning Platform”?

The conference is focused on innovation and showcasing how business can increase everything from productivity to creativity and staff morale through innovation. The title, ‘The Burning Platform’ speaks to the fact that we have recently gone through a hard time with the global recession, and this has meant that businesses have had to pull in the forces and cut costs. Most businesses are having a difficult time addressing their need to innovate right now. There is nevertheless a need, now more than ever, for business to create a ‘burning platform for innovation’ in other words there needs to be a high-level desire to innovate as a business in order to survive.

2. What is the importance of innovation to South African companies in particular?

The traditional reaction to an economic downturn is one of survival, and it is assumed that this is quickest achieved by trying to increase efficiency and cut costs. Unfortunately this often has the adverse effect by stifling innovation rather than nurturing it. In general, South African business was not as badly affected by the economic slow down as elsewhere in the world, so this presents a massive opportunity for South African business to take a leap forward while others struggle to survive – this can only happen through innovation.

3. How could businesses innovate?

It could be something as simple as an innovation in the way you communicate with your customers, which might allow you to allocate more resources to other problems. Ultimately I see innovation as the only true way to facilitate growth and encourage sustainability – failure to innovate now at this transitional stage between a one economy and another could set you back years in the end.

4. In what respects is Idea Bounty an innovative company?

Idea Bounty is an innovation is the sourcing of creative ideas and solutions to problems from marketing and communications to operations. In the past, solutions to these problems would be taken on by a team of specialists who would charge you by the hour for the solutions they provide – in other words the more specialists and the more time they spend the more expensive it gets. The Idea Bounty model allows you to source these solutions with a set cost. You post a brief (an outline of your problem) on Idea Bounty with a reward or “bounty” attached to it. Our community of 11 000 creatives then submits their solutions to your problem (average 350+ per brief) and you choose the best one in exchange for “the Bounty”. This allows a business to open themselves up to a potentially infinite number of solutions while keeping your cost fixed.

5. What are the challenges of being a highly innovative company?

I think the biggest risk is spreading yourself too thin. Innovation is like a drug and once you see something new and fresh working in one part of your business, there is often a rush to innovate everything. Innovation means trying new things and its important that we make sure new things work 100% before we move onto innovating the next thing. That said there are some areas in which a business can innovate with very little effort – by using Idea Bounty, for example.

6. Who should attend this conference and your talk in particular?

Anyone interested in innovation! I think directors and senior managers from every department should be attending. There is going to be something for everyone, from innovation in strategy and business development to operational management and research and development. I think there are many CEO’s of small and medium sized business that would also walk away with a lot from the conference.

7. What aspect of Idea Bounty/ innovation will you be focusing on in your presentation?

I will be focusing on several of the briefs we have hosted for our past clients – how they went through the process, what problems they bought to the crowd to solve and the excellent solutions delivered by our community. I will then take a look at how everyone from businesses to agencies could be using crowdsourcing as a tool within their own business.

8. Crowdsourcing – Destruction of an industry or future we need to embrace? What’s your conclusion, in brief (spoiler alert!)?

Crowdsourcing does not herald the destruction of the creative industry but it is definitely something that is altering its shape. As the world becomes more social, businesses are going to have to get involved with the consumer more, and in many respects are already doing this through social media strategies. Crowdsourcing is another way to interact with your consumers and glean insights from their thoughts on your brand. Crowdsourcing is here to stay and if used correctly can be a powerful tool for both business and creative advertising agencies – they just need to embrace it.

9. Quirk’s culture of innovation: What drives this culture within Quirk?

Quirk is a company that comes up with ideas. Often we don’t immediately know what to do with them, and that is why we sat on Idea Bounty for two years before we actually executed it. The key is to create a culture where people are not afraid to throw out ideas and concepts, no matter how crazy or off the wall they may initially seem. It requires that the rest of the staff learn to A) not laugh and B) help guide, structure and execute those ideas that have potential. Ultimately I would say it’s Quirk’s open culture of ideas and a willingness to try them even if there is a chance we will fail that keeps us innovating.

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