It’s difficult to predict the power of a new idea in its infancy, but all good things are born from simple ideas. That’s why we’re launching our first-ever PILOT Innovation Challenge. We want to hear any and all ideas for engaging our communities.

We’re issuing the Innovation Challenge because we see opportunity.

How might local television and radio broadcasters engage their communities with next generation content on any device, whether big, small or moving?

The simplicity of an initial idea is where opportunity begins. Of course you’d expect an idea to change as it is developed and validated, but it’s impossible to anticipate where an idea might go and what else it might spark. And at this early stage, it’s not risky to sling ideas. It’s necessary if we want to find new opportunities no one else has explored.

We’ve structured the Innovation Challenge with two distinct parts: content and technology. The two should feed each other to create something that engages broadcasters’ communities. The creation of content requires careful thought about how people interact with it. The creation of technology requires careful thought about the information being conveyed.

If you’re not deliberately considering how the content and technology work together, you’re not addressing the Innovation Challenge.

People familiar with the design-thinking principles of desirability, feasibility and viability should recognize the criteria we’ll use to evaluate the ideas.

All entries should address the following questions:

  • Desirability: What is the value to the audience and to broadcasters?
  • Viability: What are the potential ways the idea, if implemented, could generate revenue?
  • Feasibility: What is required to make the idea a reality?
  • Originality: What makes the idea novel?

And we’ll have plenty of help determining the potential of the ideas. We’re putting together a large group of judges including broadcasters, venture capitalists, academics and other entrepreneurs to choose the 10 semi-finalists when the submission period ends in late September.

Then a smaller group of judges will choose the top three finalists who will be guaranteed at least $10,000 and up to $20,000 to put toward developing the idea into a prototype. The three finalists will be invited to present their ideas and answer questions from our industry’s top executives at the invitation-only event, NAB Futures. Those executives will determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Then it’s off to NAB Show New York where the winners will explain their ideas in front of all attendees. They’ll have five months, the prize winnings and industry guidance to turn the idea into something tangible to demonstrate at NAB Show in Las Vegas in April 2017.

The deadline to submit ideas to the PILOT Innovation Challenge is September 23. Get going and good luck!