Tuesday, August 19, 2008

InnoCentive brings collaboration and innovation together

InnoCentive has taken collaboration to the heart of innovation. Using their business as a central point of interaction, they work with companies who haven’t been able to solve business problems within their organizations. These companies find other corporations through InnoCentive, and then they work together to generate results. The New York Times recently took a look at InnoCentive. They use an open source model that opens up seekers’ problems to the public and gives out cash prizes to the person who comes up with the solution.

The company started in 2000 at Pharma giant Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly posted their problems on the internet for users outside the company, seeking ideas on how to fix their dilemmas. This novel and open approach took off that resulted in their spin-off as a separate business. Using collaboration, companies look beyond their own employees when they are unable to come up with answers. This has generated great success for InnoCentive and its customers. InnoCentive’s unique approach allows everyone to succeed, from the companies who are seeking solutions on a current problem; to those who are able to provide the ideas. They have even suggest that by allowing everyone to play a part, someone one day, will have the opportunity to reach the highest level of innovation and possibly win a Nobel Prize.

Dwayne Spradlin, the president and CEO of InnoCentive, says the company has solved 250 challenges, and has awarded prize money from $10,000 to $25,000. Some of these include a compound for skin tanning, a model for preventing snack chips from breaking and a min I extruder in brick making. They’ve seen solutions submitted from over 175 countries.

InnoCentive was also recently reviewed by Business Week. Check out their podcast here. InnoCentive also maintains a blog where they give their perspectives on innovation.


greensleaves said...


I wouldn't call that collaboration. They post the problem and get answers, but no one collaborates during the process. A somewhat similar platform where collaboration takes place will go online on September 17.: http://www.atizo.com. InnoCentive is more the expert and company-company type of open innovation. Consumer-Company and crowdsourcing approaches are attacking that model in the near future.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for reading our blog, greesleaves and for letting us know of a similar company who will be doing this in the future.

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