Guide: Creating your Guidelines

Creating Your Guidelines

Using the suggested outline from this page, here's how you can expand on your Guidelines section:

Submission Form

Once you have completed your judging criteria, you can begin constructing your submission form on your HeroX page dashboard. This will be what competitors fill out to submit their idea so you want to ensure it is clear and concise. The easiest way to start building your form is to take the judging criteria and ask discrete questions based off of that criteria.

Using Operation Blue Sky: Aboriginal Health Initiative as an example, this is how you would construct the submission form based on that criteria:


Submission Evaluation Criteria Submission Form Question
Culturally appropriate and inclusive How is your solution culturally appropriate and inclusive to Aboriginal Canadians?
Relevance to Aboriginal people in First Nations and traditional territories How does your solution apply to the current state of Aboriginal people across various territories?
Flexible Describe how your solution could be altered to fit the different territories and tribes.
Action-oriented, pragmatic and sustainable Describe the practicality of your solution and how it will work for all tribes indefinitely.
Ability to exist within current legislative and fiscal environments How does your solution fit in with the current legislation and other government environments?
Cost neutral Outline how your solution would be cost neutral.
General appearance, intangibles, ‘Wow’ factor (Note: this wouldn’t be a question but where the competitor can attach a file - PDF, video link, etc. - to demonstrate this criteria)

Some crowdsourcing sponsors simplify their submission form by having competitors only upload a PDF (or other text file) of their solution.

You also have the option of making some of your form questions required or optional.


Judging Criteria

For a competition to be fair and effective, it must include clear and complete criteria for the winning solution. Clear criteria help everyone compete on a level playing field and avoid any possible need to change them mid-competition. By choosing parameters to measure and a way to measure them, you can create a fair and clear way to identify the winner.  This will vary whether your competition will award the first to cross a finish line or the best overall.

For example, if the goal is to improve math and science education, what is the measure of improvement?  How many students must show what sort of change?  You will need to turn many different measurement knobs to get the right mix of requirements giving you and your competitors a clear goal.  Of course, these measurements are related to the audaciousness of your project and must be clearly part of the rules for the competition.

Your final scorecard should look something like this (example also taken from Operation Blue Sky: Aboriginal Health Initiative):


Submission Evaluation Criteria Maximum Points Award

Culturally appropriate and inclusive

Relevance to Aboriginal people in First Nations and traditional territories 20
Flexible 15
Action-oriented, pragmatic and sustainable 10
Ability to exist within current legislative and fiscal environments 10
Cost neutral 10
General appearance, intangibles, ‘Wow’ factor 15
Total    100

Another suggestion to ensure you receive high-quality submissions is to provide tips and examples of what you are (or aren't) looking for. You can view examples of this here.


Timeline and Phases

When does it open for submissions? When are submissions due? When will winners be announced? Create a table with all relevant dates. Example below from the LIVES: Leveraging Impactful Videos to End Stigma challenge:


Timeline Event Date
HeroX page is live June 8, 2015
Registration opens February 22, 2016
Submission Deadline May 23, 2016
Judging Begins July 26, 2016
Judging Ends August 25, 2016
Winner Announced September 26, 2016


Be sure to leave an appropriate amount of time between when competitors sign up and when their final submission is due. Ideation projects typically last anywhere between 60 to 90 days (but could be longer depending on what you are asking your competitors to submit) whereas proof of concept projects can run for a year or two. Since proof of concepts will require a finished product at the end, you will want to ensure competitors have plenty of time to execute their plan.

There are optional phases you can weave into your schedule as well. In the Cognitive Computing example above, the sponsors decided to include leaderboard updates so competitors are aware where they and other individuals/teams stand. Other phases you can incorporate into your schedule include:

  • A registration deadline: only allow competitors to sign up for a set amount of time.
  • Qualifying round: this would require competitors to submit an entry on a designated date prior to the final submission deadline to prove they are qualified to move on (mainly for proof of concept projects and is a deliverable related to the end goal). It also allows the sponsor to give feedback to competitors and keep them engaged.
  • Voting: allow the crowd to get involved in picking a winner! This will be elaborated on below.

Award or Prize Amount

Choosing an award amount is a bit of a science. Try to figure out how much an individual or team might spend (time or actual money) to win the prize, or think about how much the solution is worth to you. The intellectual property (IP) structure you decide on can also impact the prize. If you wish to own all of the IP of the winning solution, you will want to award a higher prize amount compared to if you allow the winning individual to keep all of the IP or share it with you.

Also important: be sure to outline consolation prizes in case none of the solutions submitted meet the criteria you outlined. Even if you don't award the full prize amount, competitors can trust that their hard work will not "go to waste", and they will be aware ahead of time that there's a contingency plan in the event no one solves your problem or achieves your goal.


Choosing a Winner

There are a couple of ways that you can choose your winner. Some prizes are “first to finish,” and others utilize the “best in class” approach”.  “First to finish” is when the team that meets the prize requirements first, wins.  “Best in class” is when all qualified competitors compete at the same time and the best performers in each “class” win.

These two prize types incentivize competition and define success differently.  As you design your prize, you need to decide what type of prize will work best.  Here are some of the questions to think about as you decide what type of prize you are designing:

  • Are you looking for one perfect solution or many good solutions?   If you think there should be one perfect solution, first to the finish line is the better choice.
  • How will your competition encourage collaboration?  Teams are more likely to collaborate when they all have a chance of benefitting, best in class encourages more collaboration.

Depending on the amount of prize money you have, you could have multiple awards rather than just one lump sum. For instance, the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize had a first place prize and a second place prize that were selected by the judges. They also had a third “People’s Choice” award that was selected by the crowd! Voting is another great way to get the public involved in your crowdsourcing project or competition. However, you will want to take into consideration the potential technicality of the submissions people would be voting on. The more specialized it is, the more you will want to restrict or reconsider the ability to vote.



The HeroX platform has the capability to allow the crowd (or a limited group of people) cast a vote for their favorite entry. Depending on the project or competition you are designing, you can opt to have the crowd vote for a certain number of submissions to move on to a semi-finalist or finalist round, pick a “People’s Choice” winner, or even select your overall prize winner.



Your competition guidelines must be clear and specific about who can compete.  Some competitions require the participants be over a certain age, some require entries by teams and not individuals, some are only for college students, and some restrict the competitors’ country.

Restrictions on eligibility may depend on your ability to award prize money to certain individuals, nations, organizations, or their ability to self-insure during the competition. For global projects or competitions, be sure you have rules in place to address this - same goes for if you are excluding certain countries or jurisdictions. If it's related to a highly regulated space, make sure you address this and outline any possible steps a competitor would need to take to operate legally within it.

Limiting competition can also be a way to shine a light on a particular demographic through your focus; a competition limited to high school students produces different results and marketing opportunities than a competition open to all ages. Also, for example, if the competition requires a driver’s license, be sure that is included in your requirements; you wouldn’t want to have to disqualify an otherwise great team just because they didn’t have a driver.


This section can include mandatory or optional rules. Here is some example language that you could use:

  • Who can participate: The project/competition is open to teams in XYZ. To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the project/competition as defined in the Intellectual Property and Legal Agreement.


  • Selection of Winner: Based on the winning criteria, and voting, XX prizes will be awarded: $XXX. In case of a tie, the winner will be selected at the discretion of the Judging Panel. All votes are subject to review. Any competitor using unfair methods to solicit votes will be automatically disqualified from the project/competition. The Guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the Crowdsourcing Site often to review updates.


  • Consolation Prize(s): In the event that none of the submissions meet the Judging Criteria, the sponsor will award the following consolation prizes to the competitor(s) that score the highest:
    • Consolation Prize 1:
    • Consolation Prize 2:
  • Registration and Submissions: All Teams must be registered by XX XXPM TIME ZONE to be eligible for the prize. No registrations will be accepted after this date and no changes to Teams may be made after this date. All Team submission materials must be received by XX on or before XX, 201X at XXPM (TIME ZONE). No submissions will be accepted after this time. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. All submissions must be received online, via the Crowdsourcing website, and all uploads can be in PDF format only. Submission reporting requirements are detailed below in Judging.