Every business has in some form a process for generating, qualifying, and allocating resources to sales leads. In many businesses, it is a very expensive, resource hungry exercise, so finding a way to short circuit the process, would be offer the potential for a major increase in  productivity.

One Australian business, Cormack Packaging has evolved an Innovation Award over a number of years that is a collaboration between Cormack, and a number of universities offering design degrees. Cormack coordinates a competitive process judged by industry experts, that offers final year design students a project that carries a monetary prize, a commercial design assignment, and increasing prestige for those who do well, as well as  royalties on anything that is commercialized. Cormack offers technical  support, and access to its facilities to the students, providing valuable real world experience for the participants.

Importantly,  for a modest investment, Cormack is creating a “bank” of ideas that address real world problems, and a forum for the ideas to be given a commercial airing. Apart from contributing to the “design gene pool” in a substantial manner, they are able to identify emerging design talent and harness it, as well as providing a reason for their customers and potential customers to shop with Cormack for solutions to their problems.

This is a massive short circuit of the lead generation and qualification processes their competitors engage in. How much better to engage with the decision-makers from existing and potential customers in a forum whose objective is the development of  innovative solutions to a specific set of packaging challenges, rather than having reps cold call potential customers in an attempt to get an audience with someone who cares.