What happens when Greenpeace Germany runs a contest crowdsourcing creative ideas to forward the Save the Arctic campaign? If you ask Jesko Stoetzer, the outcome was awesome creative, passionate and heart-headed submissions from creatives around the world.

Jesko is a community manager with Jovoto, an online crowdsourcing platform that connects creatives with clients looking for solutions. Jovoto has 50,000 creatives as part of its community, coming from different creative disciplines including graphic design, product design, architecture, copywriting and service innovation.

For six weeks, creatives were invited to submit communication ideas to realize more signatures for Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic petition to protect the Arctic from oil drilling. 

Seeking Fresh Design Ideas

The Save the Arctic campaign is gathering signatures on www.savethearctic.org to increase pressure on politicians and corporations to enforce a global sanctuary and ban offshore oil drilling in Arctic waters. Corporations, including Shell, want to drill for oil in the Arctic. Extreme weather and freezing waters in this area mean there is no safe way to deal with an oil spill.

Benjamin Borgerding

Benjamin Borgerding

The online petition aims to gather five million signatures, and to date has more than 3.6 million.

After a year of running the campaign, Greenpeace Germany web campaigner Benjamin Borgerding says organizers were looking at how to keep pressure on the companies and the level of public engagement high. This led Greenpeace Germany to run a public contest to create communication ideas to forward these objectives.

“Because we worked with Jovoto successfully in the past, we thought it would be a great way to come up with more ideas for us,” says Benjamin.

A logo for Greenpeace Germany’s energy campaign was created through a Jovoto contest, which has since been used extensively throughout the entire campaign in different countries.

jovoto_winner-300x285

Above is the winning logo from Greenpeace Germany’s previous Jovoto contest, which sought visual ideas for the country’s commitment to renewable energy.

Why Choose Crowdsourcing?

The main objective for the Save the Arctic contest was to collect ideas outside of what people within Greenpeace would usually create, says Benjamin. People working in or for Greenpeace for a period of time people may develop a narrowed perspective, or “Greenpeace approach,” he says.

Jovoto brings a different perspective to the work because the creatives, though they may be ecologically conscious, are not necessarily Greenpeace supporters, he adds.

“We appreciate that they might have an approach that is so different from ours so they come up with ideas that we usually wouldn’t think of, and I think that’s a big advantage to working with this platform,” says Benjamin.

Greenpeace Germany’s first choice and licensed idea from the contest is called Come on Board, created by voto, where the photos of the latest petition signers are displayed on the website in a rubber boat.

Greenpeace Germany’s first choice and licensed idea from the contest is called Come on Board, created by voto, where the photos of the latest petition signers are displayed on the website in a rubber boat.

Multiple perspectives help create the proper vision, and even ideas that rank low help when compared to the good ideas, notes Jesko, who served as community manager for the contest.

“The more perspectives you have looking at a certain problem the better the picture gets,” says Jesko.

Jesko Stoetzer

Jesko Stoetzer

Jovoto clients create a project briefing describing the task they are looking for ideas to solve. Creatives in the community submit ideas their design ideas online, which are discussed and rated by other members.

This open collaboration forum is another crowdsourcing differentiator. As opposed to some contests where people submit ideas and wait to see what happens, Jovoto’s project guides, and the community itself, provide feedback on ideas to make them better.

Public projects allow everyone to take part, says Jesko. Passionate people who want to do something that have average skills may submit ideas alongside professional designers or illustrators who have a high level of creative work.

 Street Intervention, by hinatao, is one of Greenpeace Germany’s top choices and uses stencil art in urban areas.


Street Intervention, by hinatao, is one of Greenpeace Germany’s top choices and uses stencil art in urban areas.

Because the contest is live, people can see the creative process as it happens from floating an idea, updating ideas, commenting on ideas, receiving feedback, and working on that feedback.

Media building is another advantage to using an online crowdsourcing platform. The creation process can become part of the campaign, as people take interest in the contest and its outcome. Jovoto, Greenpeace and creators can all share ideas and contest updates through their own social networks.

“What’s great about it is you already have ample opportunity to talk about the campaign while the contest is happening and not just in the material afterwards,” says Benjamin.

Creatives Respond

The Save the Arctic contest received 190 submissions from 51 countries. The Jovoto community chose six winners, who received prize money, and Greenpeace licensed six ideas. The community winners are not necessarily the same as the client choices. In this contest, two of the top six community winners were also chosen by Greenpeace Germany.

“We hope to implement some ideas as soon as possible,” says Benjamin.

Key Takeaways

  • Crowdsourcing provides people with different perspectives to submit creative ideas
  • Create a precise and concise project briefing to help submissions align with objectives
  • Consider when and how you plan to use the ideas that will come in
  • Contests with high ethical goals drive high contribution and a high level of motivation

Greenpeace has six months after the contest completion to license more ideas. Benjamin says if other Greenpeace offices discover submissions they are interested in they can consider licensing it.

The Jovoto community has a “green DNA,” which shone through in this contest, says Jesko. Some creatives asked if they could run the ideas themselves if they weren’t selected.

“I personally think part of our job as creatives is to make the world better,” he says.

Because of the high ethical goals of this contest, the creatives are also highly motivated to create awesome results, notes Jesko.

The contest garnered many great online ideas, says Benjamin, however some are difficult to implement due to the international nature of the Save the Arctic webpage and the need to have all offices working together.

Though Benjamin says there were several ideas they liked focusing on online mobilisation, in the end only one licensed idea is for the Save the Arctic page itself.

Benjamin worked with Volker Gassner, head of new media and press at Greenpeace Germany, and Arctic campaign press officer Björn Jettka, to select ideas to license.

The first Greenpeace Germany choice, Come on Board, features a picture of a rubber boat on the petition website. After signing the petition, people can see their photo inside the boat, and scroll to see others who have signed, which may prompt people to share the link with friends.

The top community pick, which is also one of Greenpeace Germany’s licensed ideas, is entitled Time. The concept features images showing the computer mouse symbol with a polar bear trapped in an hourglass indicating the urgency of time running out and the need to sign the petition online. The concept can be used for street marketing and online advertising.

Time, created by gusmonk, is a street marketing and online advertising concept.

Time, created by gusmonk, is a street marketing and online advertising concept.

A visual strategy entitled Act Now was also among the top picks for both the community and Greenpeace. The concept uses stickers featuring strong images of animals and spilled gasoline in protest to oil companies in the Arctic and the website is listed. The stickers can be placed on sidewalks and other places to attract attention and awareness.

Among the other top client choices are: Uncover Dirty Business, which uses printed cardboard oil-slicks in strategic public places; Russian Roulette, a website banner with a roulette image calling to “stop playing Russian Roulette in the Arctic”; and Street Intervention, which uses stencil art and text on various surfaces such as buildings.

Crowdsourcing can also bring surprises. Jovoto member Hannah Rosa Rasch’s submission included photos from the Arctic. When Jesko wrote a note checking in about copyright for the photos, he found out Hannah lives in the Arctic and asked her to share a video sharing her point of view. Jesko describes the video as “beautiful,” as Hannah stands near an ice fiord and discusses the potential impact of an oil spill.

Benjamin says he anticipates Greenpeace Germany working with Jovoto’s crowdsourcing platform again, noting the two projects he has been involved with has produced pleasing outcomes.

India Campaign Crowdsources

Jovoto will be launching its next large Greenpeace contest on Sept. 3, 2013. Entitled Energy [R]evolution – A Watershed Moment in India, the project is calling on creatives to design something that would replace the dirty diesel pumps in the fields of India.

Act Now, by sophD, intends to capture the attention of the general public through strong images placed in public places.

Act Now, by sophD, intends to capture the attention of the general public through strong images placed in public places.

There are 10-million diesel-powered irrigation pumps being used in India to allow small farmers to water their crops year-round. The price of diesel has been rising, causing some farmers to abandon their land. The diesel emissions are also accelerating global warming.

Renewable-powered pumps, such as solar, would provide an economic and environmental solution, but this type of pump suitable to the needs of a small farmer in India is not available. The contest is asking for ideas for a pump that is powered by clean energy, is portable, robust, locally serviceable, cost effective to amortize within a year (when compared to diesel) and provides sufficient pumping performance.

Stay connected: @greenpeace_de @Jovoto

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Do you have an innovation in mobilisation and people-powered campaigns? Share it with Mob Lab by contacting moblab@greenpeace.org.

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