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On April 29th, in order to solve their biggest business challenges, Visa turned to the startup community for help with the announcing of its second-annual Everywhere Initiative.

The Everywhere Initiative is a challenge where Visa presents three business problems that call for solutions from the startup community.

Winning startups receive $50,000 to pilot their ideas while receiving support from Visa’s marketing, product, and technology teams for one year to help bring the solutions to life.

For this year’s Everywhere Initiative, Visa presented the following challenges to the startup community:

  • API Challenge − Propose innovative ideas that can fundamentally alter consumer experiences by leveraging the Visa APIs offered through the Visa Developer Platform.
  • Global Events Challenge − Propose solutions to creatively leverage today’s dominant social media channels to spark Visa brand engagement amongst fans at Visa-sponsored events.
  • Cardless Challenge − Propose solutions to encourage Visa cardholders to load their Visa cards onto every digital payment platform they use.

“The fundamental goal was to take some of our biggest marketing and business problems and open them up to the community to help us solve them,” said Shiv Singh, senior VP-digital and marketing transformation at Visa, in an article on Adage.

Visa joins a growing list of companies who are leveraging open innovation to solve complex problems.

Unilever, for example, is having success co-creating with a global community of entrepreneurs and innovators to make sustainable living commonplace through the Unilever Foundry.

Why open innovation?

There are an infinite number of problems in the world. Some big, some small. Some industry specific, some that affect people around the globe.

Open innovation, or using external sources outside of your company to get ideas, is an opportunity to find diverse and creative solutions to those problems from a wider pool of people – whether they be your customers, partners, students or consumers.

Great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. Tucked away in the mind of a construction worker, receptionist, retiree, or a stay-at-home mom or dad, could be a revolutionary idea just waiting to be noticed. Imagine if you were able to give them a platform to share those ideas.

This is the power of open innovation. And more companies are realizing how beneficial it is for business and society.

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