Bold idea: $25,000 Innovation Camp at Skookum

Bold idea: $25,000 Innovation Camp at Skookum
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When I first saw the term “Innovation Camp” I thought, well that’s cute.

Then I saw the price tag – $25,000. Boom.

Then I saw Skookum’s money-back guarantee – “if you don’t have fun, it’s free.” Boom.

Amazing idea, brilliantly executed. Skookum has cornered the innovation and technology market in Charlotte, but they’re now a national player need to build their reputation throughout the country.

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skookum-marketing

This is a bold, smart marketing campaign to attract business leaders and innovation executives. It’s a low barrier way for business units to “test drive” the Skookum team and with a $25,000 price tag (cost can go against future projects) it says to possible clients – we’re dead serious and we’re valuable.

After reading this, I needed some answers. So, I reached out to Erika Carney, Director of Portfolio Strategy at Skookum.

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Axios Charlotte: Have you gained any traction with this concept? Any participants yet?

Erika Carney: “We launched Innovation Camp in May of this year, and we already have several projects underway. We’re helping the Charlotte Salvation Army explore ways to accept mobile payments at the kettles during the holiday season.”

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CA: Any interesting reactions to the concept?

EC: “Yes. We’re working with a Fortune 200 company on a co-branded concept. This company is one of the world’s largest and longest-tenured hardware components distributors. They work across a host of industries and have helped create scores of the appliances, machines, and technological hardware we encounter, every day. They would like to offer Innovation Camp to their customers as a strategic differentiator — a way to help their longstanding clients understand how and why to bridge the gap between machines and software. Projects will primarily focus on the IoT opportunity – how industry can leverage machine-to-machine communication to streamline operations and increase revenue.”

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CA: How and why was the concept born? Which Skookum team members gave birth to this?

EC: “Client feedback is very important to us. We continually look for ways to better connect our services to the market opportunity. Obtaining sign-off for projects that may be considered bold or unprecedented is a challenge in larger organizations. It’s something we hear time and time again. There’s a lot of risk that comes with it, and it often means that somebody has to stick their neck out. We want to alleviate this pain. We want to give our clients something tangible to take back internally and say, ‘this ambitious technology idea I’ve been advocating for can be done, and here’s a taste of what’s possible’ We want to put our clients in a position to get their teams, their boss excited. And we’re confident that if we put our people in a room for 5 days and give them the freedom to explore and create, something awesome will ensue.”

We’ve been using Innovation Camp for our own internal products. It’s a great way to jumpstart the creative process and get early feedback on concept viability.

In terms of who came up with the idea, it was a joint effort. A group of us (spanning Sales, Marketing, Service and People departments) were sitting around the couch one day talking about how we could make it easier for companies to engage with us. Innovation Camp was born from that discussion.

In terms of who will execute, clients will generally get paired with a Product Strategist, Designer and Senior Developer (staffing is customized to each project based on client needs). We’ll also crowdsource ideas from the broader company at various points throughout the week. We have a lot of really smart people here who think about problems in very different ways. The more we can tap into a variety of perspectives, the better the outcome.”

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Is your team ready to “propel ideas forward?” – $25,000 camp may be the best value you’ll ever run across.

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