frog helped GE create the Ecomagination Challenge, a content platform and smart energy innovation marketplace that enlists the spirit of any individual with an idea.
In the current digital world, change is rapid, and new methods of engaging consumers are ever evolving. The digital domain is also more crowded than ever, making it a challenge for brands to stand out. GE turned to frog to create an innovative platform for their Ecomagination initiative that would draw more people to the brand while also asserting GE’s leadership in the emerging market of energy-efficient and clean energy products.
Our Customers Have the Answers
In 2010, as the global economy was still trying to recover from the 2008 recession, many of GE's competitors used one-way communication strategies to claim that they had all the answers for the woes of the world.
GE took a different tack. Rather than ask the public to believe that they had a silver bullet, the company acknowledged that they were looking for answers. frog's strategists and their GE counterparts saw this as an opportunity for GE to stand out from the competition while starting a conversation about the future of green technology. So, they created a platform where everyone could share new ideas on green and clean tech.
An Idea Evolves
Seeing the potential in crowdsourcing ideas, frog and GE decided to take the idea further with an "innovation
marketplace," an open platform that would enlist the spirit of any individual with an idea. GE would manage the focus of ideas and could seed the marketplace with a topic that both GE's business and its audience cared deeply about (such as the opportunity to develop a smarter electric grid). But the conversation would largely be defined by GE's audience. In turn, GE would provide them with a platform that exposed their ideas to the world. It would have the potential to rally the public around GE and Ecomagination while providing real and lasting value to the business.
The Ecomagination Challenge Launches
On July 13, 2010 GE launched “Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid.” They invited scientists, academics, students, and entrepreneurs to submit proposals on ideas for evolving smart grid technology, renewable energy, and energy efficiency in homes and buildings. Using popular votes and an expert judging panel, each idea competed for a share of the $200 million in financial and strategic support from GE and its venture capital partners.
The Challenge has drawn over 4,000 ideas, and the Ecomagination community has grown to represent 60,000 members, over ten times the initial goal, with more than 70,000 comments and 150,000 votes across 150 countries. It is now the world's largest open innovation challenge.