Dell launched IdeaStorm program, where anyone could post ideas related to the computer business, as well as vote, comment about them, and see them being implemented in some cases. My Starbucks Idea program follows the same pattern. They both use www.digg.com to vote for ideas, although the most voted ideas create bias by overshadowing the other ideas.

Toyota’s approach to open innovation is open for their employees only, who are supposed to know where the main points for improvement are and how feasible every idea can be. As a result of that, close to 95% of over 1.000.000 ideas are implemented every year.

Cisco launched its I-Prize competition, which resulted in them collecting over 1200 ideas from all over the world. The ideas were then filtered according to their adequacy, technical feasibility and financial viability, and the best 40 ideas were assigned a mentor to turn them into a realistic business plan. Afterwards, more filters were applied till choosing one winner.

IBM’s Innovation Jam was the first of its kind in 2001, and has been repeated every year since then, engaging over 150.000 employees and stakeholders – employees’ relatives, clients, partners and university researchers – from all over the world during three days, 24 hours per day. It provided participants with a sense of empowerment and the feeling of being listened to and having a certain engagement with the brand. It was structured in different innovation fields or categories related to specific purposes, where contributors felt free to brainstorm and discuss all the ideas in a forum or wiki platform. It was also structured in two phases:

  • Phase #1. IBM posted information providing explanations on key technologies about which contributors where expected to provide ideas on new purposes, improvement ideas, new concept ideas, etc. All ideas were considered and accepted to go through the filtering, which was carried out by 50 IBM executives, in order to select the best 31 ideas for the 2nd
  • Phase #2. The second phase was to refine the ideas selected in the first phase, and contributors were given the option to work on a business plan related to every idea. However, it was hard to get contributors to refine rather than bring in new unrelated ideas. In 2008, this was restricted to a few participants, provided with real-time chat sites.

After the second phase, another 50 IBM executives selected the ideas that were considered more likely to become profitable businesses. Latter editions reduced the Jam to just one 72 hour phase, given that participation in the second phase had not met expectations. There are many lessons and achievements to take out of this experience:

  • Some of the ideas had been discussed before without any positive result, but by putting them again on the table, new approaches were identified and collected.
  • Collecting both big and small ideas was profitable as many small ones were complementary with the bigger ones, and so their combination made them better.
  • Considering all the ideas before the first filtering helped executives think out of the box and inspired their visions of new products, improvements, and business units.
  • It helped leverage many interesting ideas from people throughout the organization that had not been listened to, and provided them with funding for idea development.

This innovation model is used for innovation processes in many companies worldwide, through online platforms or in a corporate intranet. This model is also called Crude Crowdsourcing.

This article is from the White Paper “Envisioning Open Innovation in Destinations”, available for download in www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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