Innovation Articles

By Paul Wagorn

6 Don’ts For An Open Innovation Winning Formula


For An Open Innovation Winning Formula
Open innovation (OI) can be a powerful approach for organizations to find groundbreaking ideas, develop new products and solve difficult problems. But not every company that engages in OI enjoys the same success; there are many reasons why.

I have been involved in hundreds of open innovation projects — I have seen huge successes and, of course, many failures. From those failures, patterns emerged from fundamental mistakes organizations made, outlined below. By avoiding these mistakes, you will undoubtedly excel in your next open innovation endeavor!

Why Open Innovation Portals Fail, and Best Practices for Success


The failure rate is high but the fixes are simple and intuitive. In this two-part article series Paul Wagorn, President of IdeaConnection draws on his extensive experience of open innovation to discuss the problems with OI portals and how they can be remedied.

Connecting to a world of knowledge has never been easier. The ability of the Internet to harness expertise from all parts of the planet in a wide range of fields is allowing companies to augment their talent base with the knowledge, skills, experiences and points of views of others.

Burn the Ships


Open 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.

Unconventional Success


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.

The Problems with Crowdsourcing and How to Fix Them


Many companies have been engaging in crowdsourcing as a way of finding solutions to difficult technical problems. Some of these companies engage directly with the crowd, while others have used intermediaries or ‘expert networks’ who run crowdsourcing platforms as a product.

At least on paper, crowdsourcing seems like a great solution – put your problem out there, and wait for a solution from the masses. What many companies have discovered, however is that there are many unforeseen, even fatal difficulties they encounter while engaging in these crowdsourcing efforts. In some case these challenges completely eclipse the benefits, potentially resulting in an unfulfilled promise and a disillusioned corporate team who had both high hopes and high expectations.

I am going to discuss six of the main “gotchas”, and also offer some insight into the thinking that went behind the model that our company uses – it was purposefully built to resolve these problems and gets a lot closer to a platform that actually delivers on the promise.

Open Innovation, Teams and Tea Parties


I have two wonderful daughters. The oldest is 7 years old, and in many ways, she is the most prolific, efficient and successful user of open innovation that I know, and I think that there is a lot that can be learned from how she does this.

Almost every time that my daughter has a problem that she can’t quickly solve on her own, her first thought – her very first instinct – is to go external. She outsources the solution to her problem… to me, or to my wife.

But when you think about it, it’s an extremely efficient way of working. She might be going about her daily activities, when she then encounters some sort of problem. She thinks about it for a minute and realizes that she can’t solve quickly it on her own.

The call then goes out: “… DADDY!”