One of the biggest components of a crowdsourcing challenge is the timeline. When does your challenge open? When are submissions due? When will the winner(s) be announced? These are all key milestones that determine how long the project should run.
Another contributing factor to your timeline, specifically the submission phase, is the complexity of your challenge. The more technical or in-depth your challenge goal is, the more time you will want to allow participants to submit.
Lastly, if you have a special event that you will want to announce the launch or the winner(s) at, use that date and work forwards or backwards from there. If there aren’t any events you want to tie to your project to, then this gives you more flexibility. Below are recommended time frames for each of the following stages:
Enter to Submission Deadline
Low complexity: 30 to 45 days
High complexity: 60 days to a year
|Take into consideration what you’re asking innovators to submit when determining this timeframe. More complexity = more time. Also, it’s always best to extend your deadline rather than have the project run for too long and run the risk of innovators losing interest.|
3 weeks to 1 month
|This is to give you enough time to narrow down the total number of submissions received to the high quality ones you want to pass on to your judging panel. Your judges are probably busy people as well so give them ample time to effectively evaluate their assigned entries.|
2 to 4 weeks
|Give the voting finalists and yourself enough time to promote this stage. It also gives the voters themselves time to cast their vote when it’s convenient for them.|
2 to 3 weeks after judging or voting
|This adds in a buffer in case your judges need more time, and if you wish to complete any due diligence (i.e. background checks) on your winner(s)|
HeroX also recommends the following best practices for your Timeline:
- Don’t launch on a Monday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday (low visibility on these days).
- Challenges should move into the Enter stage in the morning (somewhere around 9am PT to maximize exposure in multiple time zones).
- The submission deadline should be in the evening (around 5pm or 6pm PT) and not occur on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
- No milestones (Enter, Submission Deadline, Judging or Winner Announcement) should happen on your local major holidays.
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