The power of transparent collaboration in open crowdsourced communities can be transformative, because it breeds accountability, excitement and visibility. The other thing that it breeds, however, is connection. This can be particularly powerful in large organizations like NASA with their network of more than 17,000 employees.
For several years now, one of the tactics that the FDA has utilized for continuous improvement is crowdsourcing. They ask their employees for input on solving problems and it’s helped them to become more sustainable, improve professional development, and increase efficiencies. But in recent years, they’ve adopted a new model for problem solving – one that coaches business leaders on how to put together a good crowdsourcing campaign so that anyone can identify and solve a problem with the help of the crowd, but there are a few things that the team focuses on in order to help make a campaign successful.
Well, according to the Innovation Catalyst at Lake Trust Credit Union, Blake Woods, his job is to drive human-centered design and futurist thinking throughout an organization. This is why they’re called catalysts. Instead of being responsible for generating new ideas and stewarding innovation on their own, they see it as a facilitative role where they’re helping everyone at an organization meet this goal.
Innovation isn’t a one-time project. It’s a continuous activity. Which is why we are seeing numerous organizations adding an innovation department to their company infrastructure. In fact, in a recent survey of our client base, we were surprised to learn that almost 40% of our customers operate out of a dedicated innovation group.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, research and development was a highly guarded and elite practice. Imagine laboratories peopled by white-coated scientists who had passwords to protect the doors to their office. This kind of research and innovation was highly successful for a long time – it gave us electrocardiography, DNA fingerprinting, and many Apple products. But with the advent of the internet and online collaboration, things like intellectual property, organizational boundaries, and the identification of new markets became a much more public and shared experience.
A 2012 study by the Harvard Business Review surfaced several interesting findings about the practice of innovation for the enterprise, including the innovation ambition matrix, which details how “firms that excel at total innovation management simultaneously invest at three levels of ambition, carefully managing the balance among them.”