Future Of Innovation ... Personal Passion And Strategic Collaboration

Ms Cheryl Perkins

The future of innovation involves a balance of personal passion and strategic collaboration. Most people, like myself, have personal passions that influence their business goals. If you’re in charge of your company’s innovation strategy and creating a culture of innovation, it’s especially important to do what excites you. It’s true what they say: “You’ll be most successful when you’re doing something you feel strongly about.” It’s that passion that drives persistence, resilience and the desire to collaborate with others to make a change.

Which bring us to one of the most powerful ways to keep your innovation circuit running with new ideas: crowdsourcing. This new form of open innovation uses the power of inspired user groups to accelerate innovation while utilizing virtual volunteer consultants.

One way to do this is to start by identifying potential strategic partners and/or companies that will help your business and/or ideas grow. Target the decision-makers within those organizations, such as marketing people or innovation leaders, who likely have expansive networks of important contacts. The power of your network, or “crowd”, can open the doors of opportunity, stir innovation, and pave your way to progress toward your business goals.

Ironically, some businesses are actually created from the power of the crowd. For example, iStockphoto.com began as an image-sharing network used by a group of designers, but grew to revolutionize the field of stock photography by offering the work of ten of thousands of contributing photographers at much lower fees. Many companies use their own customer base as a valuable source of input and new ideas. Some even open up to opportunity for customers to vote on certain plans or ideas. Many Web sites and blogs have become a more dynamic, 21st century version of the traditional “suggestion box.”

The concept of crowdsourcing is expanding into another, somewhat unexpected area. In a BusinessWeek article called “Crowdsourcing Customer Service” (September 10, 2007), Kerry Miller examines a company called Get Satisfaction which offers what they call “people-powered customer service.” The author explains:

It works by allowing anyone to ask a question, submit an idea or complaint, or just ‘talk,’ all of which gets posted…for everyone to see. Companies can participate directly…but other users can chime in with answers of their own. A rating system pushes the best ones to the top.

A growing number of organizations are using services like this or a similar format of their own to cut down on traditional customer-service frustrations and expenses, while increasing customer satisfaction and providing better insight into customer needs.

As with any new idea that so dramatically changes the traditional way things have been done, crowdsourcing has its critics and can present some problems. However, if it’s properly managed, the ability to develop new solutions, streamline the R&D process, and tap into the creative power of the masses will continue to make crowdsourcing an interesting new tool for innovation in the future.

Article © 2009 Ms Cheryl Perkins. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Ms Cheryl Perkins

Ms Cheryl Perkins

affiliation:   Innovationedge

position:  Founder; President

country:  United States

area of interest:  Innovation Management and Growth Strategies

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Ms Cheryl Perkins

Conquering Innovation Fatigue: Overcoming the Barriers to Personal and Corporate Success

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