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Idea competitions can help organizations innovate and IT support can make it easier to enrol participants, facilitate collaboration and manage the process. Thus far, the literature on IT‐enabled idea competitions has focused mainly on engaging external actors; consequently, we know less about the internal engagement of employees. Moreover, although the literature reveals several challenges in managing internal IT‐enabled idea competitions, there are no comprehensive empirical accounts of how these challenges manifest in organizational contexts. Against this backdrop, we investigate how an engineering consultancy adapted an IT‐enabled idea competition to support innovation, innovation awareness and knowledge sharing. This descriptive case study provides a detailed analysis of the breakdowns that manifested, what triggered the breakdowns, and how the organization responded. Our analysis reveals that the system required substantial adaptation, and, although it addressed well‐known challenges in managing idea competitions, other challenges surfaced. We combine these empirical insights with extant literature to propose a model for understanding and explaining how our case organization handled the breakdowns that occurred while implementing the idea competition system.