AB InBev Bottle Opener Challenge
Creating new designs to close glass bottles
We decided to test out the HeroX platform by running the Bottle Opener Challenge to identify a new, ergonomic way to open a bottle that's easy, practical and appealing to our consumers.
We were blown away by the results! 71 ideas were submitted from all over the globe and the quality of ideas was greater than we imagined.
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (AB InBev) is the world’s largest brewer. With over 500 brands, they are considered one of the largest fast-moving consumer goods in the world. So it’s no surprise that they have been interested in new design options for glass bottle closures, considering the millions of glass bottles of beer sold every week. As part of a larger effort to explore different on-demand work options, AB InBev decided to use the HeroX platform to run the AB InBev Bottle Opener Challenge. They designed and built the challenge themselves, using the platform’s tools and templates. The experience was positive, and they appreciated how easy and user-friendly the platform proved to be.
William Painter patented his “crown cork” (aka bottle cap) in 1892. Since then, the technology for closing glass bottles hasn’t advanced much. There are other options, such as screw caps, corks, and swing-type closures. But pry-off and twist-off bottle caps continue to dominate due to their simple design and low cost. Despite their ubiquity, these bottle caps do have drawbacks. The pry-off version requires the use of a tool to lever off the cap, and the twist-off version can be difficult to twist and/or cut the hand of the person opening the bottle. The Bottle Opener Challenge sought to identify ideas and designs for new, user-friendly bottle closures.
The two biggest challenges in crowdsourcing projects are designing the challenge and making the crowd aware of its existence. The team at AB InBev took advantage of HeroX’s numerous tools, templates, and available guides to design and build their challenge themselves. The challenge they put together is a great example of a straightforward single-phase challenge: it clearly described the problem, explained what was wrong with current solutions, provided the guidelines for what a successful solution would look like, and clearly stated both the timeline and the prize.
Raising awareness of a challenge is critical to its success since it’s hard for people to share their great ideas if they don’t know that an opportunity exists. Fortunately, AB InBev is a major, global company with numerous established brands and excellent marketing and communications resources. Between their brand recognition and the HeroX platform community, their crowd was easier to build than it might have been for other challenges.
AB InBev was impressed by both global reach of their challenge and the overall creativity of the submitted designs. They received over 70 submissions from roughly two dozen countries. The breadth of the respondents’ backgrounds was surprising, as was the depth of knowledge that some submissions demonstrated. The winner Gary Kawakami is an architect from Honolulu, HI.
Currently, AB InBev does not plan to pursue the winning design. Like most of the designs received, it is not a good fit from a business perspective. The feasibility, timeline for development, and overall cost do not align with their current business strategies. Dunja Matkovic (the Bottle Opener Challenge’s project manager) notes that this has been a good learning point for AB InBev - although they shared their technical criteria for success, they did not provide cost guidance or technical maturity preferences. Nonetheless, they have all the submitted designs available to help guide their future efforts in developing new glass bottle closures.
AB InBev’s first experience with crowdsourcing was a positive and valuable one. When the right business problem/topic comes along, Dunja believes that AB InBev will use the HeroX platform to revisit the crowdsourcing tool and apply lessons learned from this challenge.
This case study shows how a company can successfully use the HeroX platform to host a basic challenge with only minimal support from HeroX. But not everyone has as straightforward a problem or is as comfortable with doing it all by themselves. To see examples of more complicated problems and the challenge designs that support them, click on the related content links below, or explore our Resources page.
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