What if simple features — like contests and forums — could help promote your ideas for making an impact on the world? The folks over at Bulbstorm have launched a Facebook application called Idea Challenges that intends to do this.
The company is building a community of people who have ideas and wish to share them in the hopes that they will garner feedback, make a difference, get noticed, or at least win them some quality prizes. It has already launched a site to do so, that the Facebook app is based on.
It’s not just about save-the-world causes, though, as the company also provides commercially-themed topics — making it a potential place for brands to interact with customers and help build interest and loyalty.
When users first start using the app, they are presented with a list of “Featured Challenges.” Unfortunately, there are only two at the moment, but nevertheless, the player can enter these and are presented with a question that asks for specific ideas.
The first is called “Tornados Skin It to Win It.” This one is a bit more entertaining than world-changing. The idea is to submit ideas on what they would “skin” with Ryan Newman’s Daytona 500 race car skin (currently, he is sponsored by El Monterey’s Tornados frozen food). The idea is to be creative, and visitors can peruse a decent number of suggestions ranging from the drab (my car) to the creative (an armadillo). Each suggestion gets a chance to justify their idea and is eligible to win the grand prize of two tickets to the Daytona 500, $1000, a Ryan Newman skinned iPod Nano, and the same skin for your car.
Now, don’t think this is just a raffle, because each action you perform within the app can earn you points, whether entering a challenge, rating others’ ideas, making comments, or just inviting friends to submit their own thoughts. Once you have earned enough points, you can redeem other prizes that vary from challenge to challenge and are themed accordingly. For example, for 100 points, you can redeem a free box of Tornados (not sure we’d want to get that through the mail though). For 5000, you can get one of the lugnuts from Ryan Newman’s car. Of course, this is all for racing fans and just in good fun. The other current challenge is a bit more involved.
Picking up on the prolonged debate and turbulent resolution around health care reform in the US, Idea Challenges allows the user to actually submit their ideas on how to improve the health care system. Some of the ideas are a bit idealistic, others very thought provoking, but submitting one can earn you not only $1000, but a letter to Congress. Not that you couldn’t send a letter to Congress yourself, but anyway. Again, this challenge follows the same rules as the previous one, and has its own set of prizes players can earn points for.
Though the topic is serious, Bulbstorm is not without a sense of humor. Such prizes include “Do It Yourself” rewards that consist of a first aid kit or a box of band-aids, to more fun prizes such as a Wii Fit, to a very useful raffle entry for a $250 tax refund.