The financial software company has been trying to boost its partnership and “open innovation” efforts in the past few years with programs like its annual Entrepreneur Day. It launched its “Collaboratory” website at the end of the last year, where companies and individuals can submit ideas that they want to work with Intuit on. In addition to accepting miscellaneous submissions, Intuit is trying to focus ideas with specific challenges.
Its first challenge looked at scanning receipts with a mobile phone (Intuit has already released cool smartphone products like SnapTax), and Intuit just announced that the winner of that $5,000 prize is CloudSway. Now the Collaboratory has two new challenges, both with their own $5,000 prizes. In the first, it’s looking for iPad/tablet apps that help small businesses save time and/or money. In the second, it’s looking for a product that allows consumers to make payments from their phone after scanning QR codes, say if those codes were printed on a bill.
Susan Harman, who manages open innovation at Intuit and runs the Collaboratory, said she’s not looking for a finished product. In the first challenge, a basic idea or design is probably enough, while in the second, applicants will need to submit a working prototype. In both cases, Intuit may work with the winner to license the technology and develop it into a commercial product, though Harman emphasized that there’s no guarantee that will happen.
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