Crowdsourcing Innovation with HeroX
BY LIZ TREADWELL | 2 min read

Hugo Shelley and the Art of the Win

HeroX recently reached out to Hugo Shelley, one of the talented innovators using our platform. Shelley has been using our online crowdsourcing platform since he first learned about HeroX through NASA’s ‘Space Poop Challenge’ in 2016, in which he was one of the three finalists.

Shelley has won a number of different challenges posted on HeroX, including NASA Tournament Labs’ recent Next Generation Animal Tracking Ideation Challenge, which won Shelley and his team (Gaia) a $15,000 prize.

We sat down with Shelley and asked him about how he puts HeroX’s crowdsourcing challenge software to work, and how he goes about finding the right team of experts so he can keep winning creative innovation challenges.

Through his work consulting for startups, Shelley is able to tap into a valuable network of specialists when it comes to finding the right people for a challenge. “When entering competitions like this one it’s so important to find people who have a deep understanding of the subject” says Shelley, referring to the NextGen challenge, which required the assistance of Gaia team members Dani Epstein and David Curnick, and their expertise in product development and marine biology/biotelemetry. Shelley combines his network with outreach to universities when putting a team together, and this has helped him meet the sometimes difficult task of finding the right people for a challenge.

Shelley especially values the competitions where there is a possibility of meeting the people involved, as there can sometimes be a chance of follow-up work once the competition has ended. “If you have a chance to go out there and talk to the organizers, that’s invaluable” says Shelley.

Besides finding the right people for a challenge, Shelley says it can also be difficult to keep his team motivated when they’re just volunteering their time and hoping for a cut of the prize. He points out that the key is to find people who will take part for the joy of doing it and not for the money, because in order to win, the whole team will have to incredibly hard for what can seem like a small chance of success.

When it comes to using an ideas platform like HeroX, Shelley says that challenge curation is essential. “The more choice you have in selecting the challenges that are right for you, the easier it is to get involved.” Other crowdsourcing platforms have served as roadblocks for him, since the challenges found there tend to be geared towards individuals. “I think what makes HeroX great is that it encourages people to form multidisciplinary teams and create something entirely new, together.”

Shelley and his team plan to continue with their winning NextGen solution, and are currently in the process of preparing a grant application to the UK Space Agency so they can continue to develop their system. “This would be such an exciting opportunity, to be able to develop a HeroX competition entry into a finished piece of technology that could one day make it into space.”

We’re extremely grateful to Shelley for taking the time to talk with us and share a little bit of his journey of what it takes to develop a winning submission on the HeroX platform. If you’re looking for an open innovation competition, check out the active challenges on our website and see if any of them spark your interest. You never know; one of them could be your next win!

If you want to learn more about how to use our online crowdsourcing platform, visit our website and learn how it all works.

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  • Aleksandra Bessalitskykh April 10, 2019, 9:29 a.m. PDT
    A great deal of work! Thanks a lot for writing this useful content!
  • Todd Lakes March 28, 2019, 6:28 a.m. PDT
    Thanks, it's interestingly to learn other people experience on this platform. Crowdsourcing is actually quite a perspective direction.
  • Lata Koundal Feb. 23, 2019, 12:37 a.m. PST
    Nice insight..

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