Distributed Innovation Platforms

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= Innovation Markets are often used by larger organizations to post research challenges aimed at academic, technical, and other specialist teams. Idea Management Platforms facilitate the ongoing submission of ideas from targeted communities that propose and rank the best ideas.


"„„* Innovation Markets

"Sometimes referred to as R&D platforms, these are essentially competition platforms that are focused on specific challenges posted by an organization. Usually a prespecified reward is given to whoever meets the challenge or provides the best idea. They are commonly used by larger organizations for high-value R&D activities, such as new product development processes that require technical or academic expertise."

There are a number of public innovation markets on which organizations can post their challenges. Some companies such as Procter & Gamble have created their own corporate-branded sites. „„ Process overview: 1) register a crowd; 2) post a challenge; 3) search and connect; 4) participants submit ideas; 5) review and interact; 6) reward; 7) transfer IP

("In general, full intellectual property rights for the winning solution become the property of the client organization. Those who did not win retain the rights to their ideas or proposed solutions.")

(source: Getting Results from Crowds)


"Moving on from the suggestion box, many organizations now use platforms that allow internal or external communities to contribute ideas, which are then debated, developed, and voted on. Idea management platforms are commonly used to source suggestions from employees, as well as to engage with customer communities."

"Internal or external crowds can collectively predict the outcome of specified events, usually through a market-based mechanism of buying and selling the likelihood of that event happening."


Market maturity: Some aspects of distributed innovation are relatively mature. Idea management platforms such as Imaginatik have been around for 15 years, while InnoCentive publicly launched in 2001. Prediction markets have been used in the corporate arena for over two decades, though it is only over the last five years or so that a range of commercial prediction market platforms have become available."


"In most cases distributed innovation should tap as wide and diverse an audience as possible. While some areas of innovation are extremely specialized, in many cases the most valuable and useful ideas come from people who work outside that domain who can bring new perspectives to bear."


NASA at InnoCentive

"NASA has been an active supporter of using distributed innovation and competitions to solve specific issues it is facing. For example in the past six years it has set a number of “Centennial Challenges” based around different themes, including “Sample Return Robot” and “Nano-Satellite Launch”.

They have also set up their own branded ‘pavilion’ within InnoCentive that displays their current areas of interest. These have ranged from new packing technologies that keep food in space fresher for longer to the “co-ordination of sensor swarms for extra-terrestrial research.” In the pavilion they also posted their request for “Data driven forecasting of solar events.”

The winner of the challenge was Bruce Cragin, a retired radio frequency engineer from New Hampshire, US. He was awarded a $30,000 prize for being able to predict the “onset, intensity of duration” of a “solar event” with 75% accuracy within a 24 hour forecast window." (Getting Results from Crowds, p. 150)