Open Innovation successOpen Innovation, loosely defined as seeking solutions outside your company, can help a company dramatically increase its technology and product pipeline, but it is not without its challenges.  In this article, we explore a major obstacle that can impede the success of an open innovation based project, and how to remedy it.

I have seen and been involved with hundreds of open innovation projects.  Many of these projects succeed, and help the company push through major obstacles to be able to release a disruptive new product or technology.  But some fail – and one of the biggest reasons for failure is a lack of full commitment from the stakeholders in the project. Read the rest of this entry »

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Problem Solving

How is it possible that IdeaConnection is able to put together a team of 5 people who don’t know each other to solve a problem that seems out of reach to a company’s 5000 dedicated researchers?

A look at what goes into IdeaConnection’s amazing success at solving some of the most difficult problems.  By Paul Wagorn, President of IdeaConnection. 

Innovate or die

Most medium to large sized companies bear an unrelenting pressure to continually release new products to fill market gaps, build up their technology pipelines and maintain a constant flow of new, proprietary intellectual property. Read the rest of this entry »

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crowdsourcing and open innovationWhat are the challenges of using the crowd to find solutions to technical problems, and how can we overcome them?

By Paul Wagorn, President of IdeaConnection

Loosely defined, crowdsourcing is a term used to describe using an open contest or crowd of people, all contributing to solve a problem or get something done.  The term was coined by Jeff Howe in Wired Magazine in 2006, and was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary just last year in its June 2013 update.

The premise (and promise) or crowdsourcing is that it allows organizations to solicit the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ by connecting to a large number of people who share a common goal, all at once. Read the rest of this entry »

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z1kneelingHere’s a bit of crowdsourcing fun for your weekend. Help NASA by taking part in its crowdsourcing initiative to pick the design of a new spacesuit.

The space agency has selected three design options for the cover layer of the next-generation spacesuit platform.  The style that garners the most votes may be tested on future astronauts.

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clothesMaybe this has happened to you. Scanning online shopping sites, you come across the perfect outfit or item of clothing, order it and eagerly await its arrival. When the package turns up you find the dress, jersey, shirt or suit either too large, too tight or too small.

You had filled in your details correctly, but with some brands offering dozens of different sizes, and the colossal variation of body sizes/types, it’s rarely easy to find the perfect fit.

However, crowdsourcing may be coming to the rescue with an ingenious use of the practice. Currently in private beta is a service called Fitbay that is aiming to only show users items that will fit their unique body type.

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druglab2One of the world’s most prominent pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca plc has launched a new open innovation platform that it says will make it easier for scientists all over the world to access the organisation’s OI projects.

With goals of new drugs, faster development times and lower costs, the pharmaceutical industry is keenly embracing open innovation. The pipeline has to be continually replenished so R&D output needs to be ramped up, something that many companies feel they now cannot do on their own.

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tidepodsOpen innovation can be a gateway to breakthrough products and ideas for companies no matter their size or industry. From novel food products and clean energy solutions to new laundry goods and crowdsourced cars, the roster of open innovation success stories is long.

The solutions, companies and industries may well be different, but what unites them is a willingness to engage diverse knowledge sources, and a steadfast refusal to be stuck in a rut with a ‘not invented here’ mindset.

Here’s a small collection of some of the open innovation success stories we have featured on ideaConnection: Read the rest of this entry »


631px-FullMoon2010Crowdsourcing is an effective tool for planetary science says a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. The research concluded that members of the public are just as effective at spotting lunar craters as people with 5 to 50 years’ experience.

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800px-PF-15_and_SARV-002_CARAT_2013It’s been three days since flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing.  No fewer than 40 ships and 34 aircraft are taking part in the search. With hundreds of square miles to cover it is an enormous task, one that the crowd can now assist with.

DigitalGlobe is asking members of the public to scan and tag images of more than 1,200 square miles of ocean for any evidence that could help locate the missing plane.

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gleThe March edition of the Fast Company magazine has published its report on the World’s Most Innovative Companies, drawing up a list of the 50 most innovative companies on the planet. Researchers spent six months collecting and analyzing the data.

Leading the way is Google, followed by Bloomberg then consumer electronics company Xiamoi in third place. In studying the data, the magazine’s Editor in Chief Robert Safian has drawn out 12 rising trends that help to create a culture of innovation.  Many provide a useful road map to guide companies wanting to innovate. They 12 trends are:

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