That’s an interesting question in a Web 2.0 world, and it was recently posted as an inquiry on LinkedIn. The question becomes should your core competency be innovation, commercialization of innovation, or both?
Historically innovation has been presumed to be a core competency while commercialization has been much easier to outsource. When you think about the most successful companies, were they successful because they invented a novel solution or because they executed well on an idea whose time had come, or both? The challenge is having the vision and market savvy to identify the idea whose time has come ahead of the curve but not ahead of customer readiness to adopt.
Some large and notable companies are slashing their R&D budgets in favor of Open Innovation platforms such as those below sourcing ÔÇ£bigÔÇØ ideas from outside of the company.
leverages a singularly focused approach of posting well-defined tech briefs (needs) to it global network of solvers.
- Yet2 is a global marketplace that lists both “technology needs” and “technologies available”. Yet2’s software engine drives many of the corporate open innovation marketplaces (DuPont, P&G, etc.).
connects companies (TekScouts) and scientists (TekExperts). The company cites its relationships with over 2000 academic institutions around the world in addition to the TekExperts who join the site directly.
- Innocentive offers a rewards-based approach to open innovation. Problem solvers post technical challenges to network of 140,000 technical solvers. Winning solutions are rewarded via cash awards. Although usually small, the potential reward is up to $1,000,000.
- You can test theories about what will become a trend or track othersÔÇÖ trend projections with edopter.
- Monitor Google Trends and Google Insight for Search for search queries that suggest trends.
- Trendspotting service Trendwatching.com tracks consumer trends.
- SpringWise.comÔÇÖs network of spotters scan the globe for new business ideas that you can mine.
- FellowforceÔÇÖs WebForce 2.1 provides an online suggestion box and customer challenge platform to facilitate co-creation with customers.
- Kluster facilitates internal brainstorming with its group decision making platform. Kluster has an interesting approach to prioritizing ideas as part of its solution.
- redesignme lets customers redesign the look and feel of your products ÔÇö part customer QA and part customer co-creation.
The rise in user communities and social media has enabled many companies to outsource piece parts of the NPD process.
See Not Invented Here is a Good Thing for more ideas.
While there are many good tools and resources that allow many parts or phases of the product development process to be outsourced, at the end of the day someone needs to translate the input into new business opportunities. It is an art as well as science to discern what new ideas are big marketable ideas. Hopefully youÔÇÖll be leveraging these tools soon to advance your business priorities.