Currently, many companies try to tap external resources through (open innovation) communities. Every company tries to create their own initiative and their ownportal. I think, that's the wrong way. Getting attention from potential "innovation solvers" is increasingly getting difficult.
However, companies think that they are better off by establishing their owninitiatives. The war for customer attention in our attention economy has begun!
In my last post I introduced Toyota's new open innovation initiative "Toyota Why Not". Here are more recent examples of open innovation initiatives. Namely from Sun Microsystems, Intel, and Acrobat.
Sun Microsystems launches open innovation portal: Innovation Commons. Their initiative is designed for the scientific community and student community. The website is actually run by the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. Their objective is to "foster the development of participative innovation in society and to help transition the economy into an innovation economy".
The website offers just the standard features like Idea Contribution, Commentingand Rating. All ideas are published without Intellectual Property right reservations. The community was just launched a few days ago. That's why there is only one idea online at the moment.
My review: Interaction is a bit complicated and long-winded. Design could be better. And Usability still needs to be improved.
Intel: A business case competition?
Inspire and Empower: the Intel Challenge. Intel's initiative is designed as a contest, instead of creating another community. More precisely, they are searching for solutions in four categories: Education, healthcare, economic development, and environment.
The contest was launched in August 2008, Submission ended in February 2009 and the winners are announced in April 2009. Intel awards the best ideas in each category with $100,000 USD of funding.
The Intel Challenge definitely counts as an open innovation strategy. Outsourcing idea generation to the public could work. It seems like Intel only wants to identify new business opportunities, which creates an atmosphere of a business case competition or a seed camp.
My review: The topic (education, healthcare, economic development, environment) is just too broad to foster real incremental or novel innovations.
Acrobat runs a specific initiative on "improving Acrobat.com". As on every other open innovation initiative too, people can post ideas, comment on them and rate them. In Acrobat's case they are also able to add Tags, which creates a moderate tag cloud.
Currently, there are 100 ideas online. I guess this is good, because they just started 2 weeks ago.
There is also a status assigned to each idea, which makes the portal more interactive. But usually the status is "Pending". I am eager to see how the community develops and if some ideas get actually "Approved".
As the initiative and the potential target group is very narrow, I wouldn't classify it as an open innovation community in the common sense.