An innovation challenge statement is a tool to help focus on your objective and create ideas. By creating a good challenge statement, you establish your objective and purpose for your creativity. According to Jeneanne Rae in Bloomberg Businessweek, "one of the four principles required to encourage high-impact innovation is a clear challenge statement that expresses aspirations to a worthy goal without prescribing the means." The objective is to meet a customer need, not a business need. A good challenge statement begins the creative process that will end by generating positive action.

Focus your challenge statement on the future. Make your statement general enough to allow for creativity but focused on one goal. Your statement should begin with words such as "I want to" or "What might happen if." Your challenge statement should describe an action you desire to achieve your objective.

Choose a specific action for your challenge statement. Such an action might be to improve, reduce, expand, or eliminate difficulties. The action you choose must directly relate to the population you wish to benefit. For example, you may want to help the elderly read your product inserts.

Create a challenge statement that reflects the goals of your organization. Do this by using a format that states what you want to do, and for whom. State your objective clearly. For example, "I want to improve product insert readability for the elderly."


Understand your problem or need. Focus on the desired result. Reach out to a specific population or client base.


Do not use negative statements. The purpose of the challenge statement is to generate ideas. Keep it positive.