Mobile Phone Giant Reaches Out to Open Innovation Intermediary

Published Jan-21-11

An open innovation broker helps mobile phone company Orange UK to devise, launch and manage a mobile phone app crowdsourcing initiative.

Orange UK, United Kingdom

The Story:

Mobile Phone Giant Reaches Out to Open Innovation Intermediary When companies want to boost their innovation and make best use of the wisdom of the crowd the role of open innovation brokers or intermediaries is vital to ensuring a successful outcome

Most companies do not possess the knowledge, skills or capabilities to run an open innovation scheme so they approach intermediaries for their assistance. These open innovation brokers offer a range of services from technical and business expertise to access to information and/or contacts.

The one service that is common to all brokers is that they provide their clients with wider access to expertise and capabilities than they possess or are able to find on their own.

Help is Available

Examples of how intermediaries can help you:

• When you want to know how long term trends in your industry will impact
your business
• When you are looking for new ways to innovate
• When you are looking for a solution to a specific technological problem
• If you need a particular partner to develop a specific product
• If you are looking to convert a technology into a product

Mobile phone giant Orange UK was looking to launch a crowdsourcing initiative for ideas of how people can use their mobile phone to volunteer their time for the greater good. So it turned to open innovation broker Chaordix to develop the website and technological infrastructure to make the project a reality.

Mobile Volunteering

The initiative aims to use the power of mobile phone technology to transform volunteering in the UK. It’s bringing together an expert mix of developers, social entrepreneurs and NGOs to dream up new mobile volunteering ideas. The top 10 will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be included in a flagship mobile phone app to be developed by Orange.

The ideas have to be geared towards what people can do in less than five minutes of their time, perhaps as they are waiting at a bus stop or train station. For example, they could be photo-tagging wildlife, filling in an important research survey or mapping green urban spaces.

Such an open innovation/crowdsourcing initiative is a huge organizational and logistical undertaking, and the open innovation broker helped the client to streamline the concept to ensure that it targets the most appropriate contributors and maximizes their potential.

The Orange mobile volunteering community ( is being asked for their raw ideas and also descriptions of apps that maybe in progress. Although there are no cash prizes incentives are on offer. There is rivalry, points and badges and the challenge of earning a high leaderboard rank. In addition the 10 new mobile volunteering opportunities will be developed by Orange and the 10 existing or in progress apps will be promoted by the company.

Stepping up the Pace of Innovation

It is rare that a company that wants to engage with open innovation can go it alone and so an intermediary’s help can be sought at any or all stages of the innovation process. And as Orange knows well engaging with an open innovation broker can help to maintain and indeed increase the pace of innovation.

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