The central concept of open innovation is that in today’s networked world, firms can achieve greater success by looking for new ideas and innovations from external sources – outside the walled garden of traditional R&D.
An interesting place to visit to see open innovation at work is www.challenge.gov.
It’s completely open. Anyone can participate – create an account, develop a submission to a challenge, comment on a blog post, or engage in forum discussions. It’s rare that we have the opportunity to watch open innovation in action, but you can witness it firsthand here.
An article I wrote on Challenge.Gov was recently published in Wire Rope Exchange Magazine. The article opens with a challenge posted by the U.S. Air Force for the development of a Fast Rope Glove Device to maintain a fast but safe descent in hostile situations. I used this challenge to illustrate the substance of the collaboration occurring within the challenge.gov environment.
Launched in 2010, Challenge.Gov has amassed some very impressive results: 1,515 solutions submitted and $38 million in prize money awarded. Its purpose is to encourage collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, private industry and citizens to solve tough challenges.
Social media means that any company has the ability to play in the open innovation space. And that makes open innovation a perfect topic for this blog. There is much to learn from challenge.gov – and other open innovation models. So, this is a topic we’ll continue to visit. And, in future posts we’ll help you think about which models are a good fit for your company and industry.