One of the trends that we are looking forward to emerging in the 2013 is the proliferation of Crowdsourced and funded solutions to both generate innovation and solve particular business challenges.
We have seen the concept work brilliantly for software (open source) and product development (Kickstarter). But here at Holler we believe that the concept will begin to come into it’s own in 2013 and influence more facets of business and society. With platforms cropping up to come up with solutions across a variety of topics and spaces.
There are two distinct spaces of emergence when it comes to crowd sourced innovation. One is open source ideation platforms that people can use to crowdsource resource and ideas. The other being companies starting to encourage users, consumers and professionals to help them come up with new solutions and solve business challenges. Some of the platforms we are impressed with so far are detailed below.
Collaboration and crowdsourced platforms:
A platform in which you can find challenges posted by big business and academia to source technical solutions and ideas including business strategy, science, marketing, bio-engineering etc.
A platform that sort of reverse engineers solutions to problems by tapping into the wide array of patents that Universities and Academic institions own. Detailing stagnant patents and technologies that are owned by academic instituions and yet to find applications. Using the platform to crowdsource ideas and problems in which the patents and technologies can be used to solve.
A platform that sources social innovations. Relying on sponsors to posit ‘Big Questions’ to the platforms international community. Ideas then go through a number of interogation and validation stages. With winners annoucned and their ideas put into action.
Companies investing in Open Innovation Labs:
AT&T is creating innovation centers across the US and one internationally to create spaces where people from various disciplines can come together in an attempt shorten the period between ideation and execution. Opening up resources to third party developers and the public. With the intention of collaborative innovation as the driver of communications and product innovations for AT&T now and in the future.
Ford is opening up its in-dash software Applink and Ford Sync to thrid party developers and designers to create new software for its vehicles. At CES this year Ford announced that they would be opnening up the platform to allow for greater crowdsourcing and collaboration. In saying that they have been fairly explicit they will be very select about the types of apps that will go to market and safety of drivers will be the utmost consideration in these decisions.
A business you don’t necessarily expect to be venturing into a space more often reserved for large tech and communications companies. Campbell’s are asking creatives, designers and technologists to hack the Kitchen. To help them come up with ideas and technologies that will help people find recipes and inspiration around the kitchen. They have released an API that delveopers can hack into to create solutions they have said can range from in kitchen apps through to car apps.
All of these developments are encouraging in that both the academic and business communities are seeing the value of looking to consumers and users to help develop the products and services they will be delviering in the future.