Internal crowds have their say with open innovation

This is where our open innovation model draws a line to make a difference – we believe both external and internal communities should be involved in your open innovation efforts. Therefore, our model gives you easy access to new sources of innovation, asking different questions of different communities and unleashing their hidden potential.

Having laid out goals, challenges and workflow designs, engage your external contributors using a software platform to source new ideas and solutions. Also, establish the expected nature and quantity of your outputs. Your plan of incentives, gamification, prediction markets’ mechanisms and 360º monitoring of the platform ensures efficiency and high levels of participation.

Next, we help you integrate the externally generated content with your internal community. Adopting the software platform for their own purposes, your people can screen and evaluate the best contributions. This way you gather their collective intelligence. Together, your selected internal crowd can decide which contributions a final jury should select from to find the competition’s winner.

With a client in the telecom industry, for instance, we developed a 2012–2013 initiative to challenge graduate students from the best Portuguese universities – ‘Talento com Fibra’ (literally, ‘Talent with Fibre’). They had to address specific products and services innovation challenges.

In 2012, 275 participants registered, presenting 80 proposals. A year later, 471 students delivered 151 projects. The company’s internal community could then choose 16 finalists whose ideas entered the last selection stage.

Ideas without boundaries
Ideas may recognise no boundaries, but they surely have constraints: complexity, unrelatedness and lack of value. You need suitable tools and methods to get ideas and choose the best.

So, while embarking upon your open innovation quest, be sure to capture equally high external and internal levels of engagement. The whole initiative and evaluation process, in particular, needs efficiency. The proposals must be relevant, easily finding their place and sponsors in your organisation.

Overall, remember that:

  • It’s important to have many ideas, but it’s equally important to evaluate them appropriately.
  • Mixed sourcing outside and inside your organisation makes the best blend.
  • Weighted relevance evaluation by external stakeholders and value creation evaluation by internal participants ensures your success.

If you do it right, over time you can source contributions from hundreds or even thousands of participants. You gain brand visibility, and open innovation becomes one of your organisation’s most valuable best practices.

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s CEO and co-founder

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