Open Innovation with the Crowd: Crowd Innovation
Crowd Innovation follows a similar path to Participative Innovation (previous post here) except that it leverages on the creativity of Internet users. Here we explore the third way of Open Innovation that Professor Chesbrough describes as: “creating new business models arising from opening up the process, opening the doors to cocreation, and customer communities driving a business.” (crowd)
- Thus, Dell, Starbuck, Lego, Intel, Casino, Sosh, Total Tilt have set online platforms to collect ideas to improve their offerings; Lego has probably the most advanced process in term of fairness with the idea’s owner: after reaching 10k supporting votes, your project enters a special phase called the LEGO Review; if approved, it goes into production, is shipped around the world and released for sale, and you receive a royalty on sales (1% of the total net sales);
- Merck Serono is a terrific example of multiple open innovation initiatives with various communities: internally with Innospire Idea Competition, and Innovation Boost 2015; externally with Innovation Cup, Open Compound, Open Call for drug discovery, and Outcubation;
- At Imagine with Orange, we created a slightly different reward: based on the request that some ideas’ owner wanted to move forward on the implementation of their idea, we provide coaching on ‘innovation design’ – guidelines cover design thinking/lean start-up, marketing mix, value proposition pricing, and business model innovation- to make the idea turn into reality: share your ideas, Orange is helping you to give them life; this coaching now includes participation to training sessions of the Orange Fab, Orange corporate accelerator, access to Lab Orange product testing facilities, and exposure across relevant Orange marketing events; some contests have been directly followed by Hackathons were Imagine’s winners were able to form a team, dig into the potential of their idea leveraging collective intelligence, and unearth an MVP.
The selection process for best ideas can be a bottleneck if you collect many ideas, and rely only on a jury composed of a few people. Therefore, we recommend to leverage the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, and take into account the comments and votes shared by the community to let the selection rise: the community is shaping the innovation.
The main difficulty, compared to participative innovation which is played in ‘closed garden’, is to reach out a sufficient number of people willing to share their creative ideas with you: it requires a strong brand awareness, and active community management, curating and challenging the ideas, social media presence, and nimble connections with targeted influencers. We, at Imagine with Orange, are passionate about innovation from all over the world, and I suppose that’s the reason why +1300 ideas from 56 countries have been shared on the platform over one year.
Blurring the lines
Participative Innovation and Open Innovation with the Crowd seem separated by the boundaries of the company. But innovation knows no borders, and some companies are experimenting innovations platforms where employees meet with the crowd to generate creative ideas. Thus, they add internal and external communities, cross different points of view, and foster group-wide emulation.
- 3DS FabLab created a community on a social platform, MADEin3D™, to share one’s project, get challenged, receive support, and expose it outside of the company boundaries, at international scale, tells Frédéric Vacher. 13 000 Dassault Systems employees are invited to connect, as well as 200 000 designers from all around the world, through international challenges;
- Airbus BizLab welcomes internal projects as well as start-ups projects relates Bruno Gutierres, and coaches both through a 6 months acceleration program: the objective is to stimulate internal innovation concurrently to opening the innovation engine to other ecosystems, and moving beyond the Not Invented Here syndrome;
- Decathlon Creation organizes co-creation from ideation stage to product development explains Vincent Textoris: following a Discovery stage where the community shares ideas and elects the best ones, the project moves to the Contribute stage, where idea owner and Decathlon product manager will meet and collaborate, from Specifications to Prototype;
- With Imagine with Orange, we have experienced a cross-process where Orange Labs employees were able to share the non-confidential part of their projects with the international Imagine community, getting immediate and accurate feedback, and letting the voice of the customer enter the innovation process from the very beginning; in the long run, we believe a campaign with Imagine should be a mandatory ‘Feedback Loop’ for a start-up or an intra-preneur, a ‘Test and Learn’ step to gauge market appetence, and collect meaningful insights from massive idea sharing.
Open Innovation ecosystem
It’s funny how Open Innovation, which was intended for going outside, is now coming back within the company walls with Participative Innovation. Actually, there seems to be endless ways for practicing open innovation, which is absolutely fine. Just be aware to build something consistent in the end, from your corporate and start-ups partners point of view, as well as for your employees, and facilitate the teamwork which lets one initiative nurture another.