The platform should engage a vast range of shareholders within the industry by encompassing private businesses, educational institutions, governments and even non-profit organizations. To provide these innovators with relevant networking opportunities, the platform should have many features such as blogs and wikis about topics that contributors want to read and talk about. Furthermore, there should be features to let innovators:

  • Present their professional profile within the innovator community
  • Be recognized for their contributions to the community and build their reputation
  • Find news and relevant information about various topics related to the innovation challenges
  • Facilitate communication and networking with other innovators and stakeholders
  • Create special interest groups with other innovators as a discussion forum and facilitate the Seekers sourcing and other kinds of interaction with stakeholders
  • Create discussion groups to facilitate collaborative work on challenges

The innovation platform should also provide every innovator with the chance to have his/her personal homepage with the following information and functionalities:

  • Professional information such as education and work experience
  • Main professional interests
  • Publications (White Papers, other academic papers, books)
  • Professional association memberships and the platform’s special interest group memberships
  • Current challenges in which he/she is participating and intended contributions
  • Challenges in which he/she has participated, contributions and related results
  • Recent discussions, off-challenge provisions and requests for help
  • Ratings for provision of advice, information, mentorship, collaboration efforts and generosity in sharing rewards with those who have provided help
  • Recommendations for peers
  • Recommendations from peers
  • Search function for an innovator filtering by expertise, results, ratings, location, etc.
  • View and respond to messages
  • Invite an innovator to join a collaboration
  • Invite an innovator to join a special interest professional (platform-based) group
  • Search for mentorship from more experienced professionals
  • Let Seekers contact them to participate in an innovation challenge or other collaborations

Mind mapping, a tool to foster innovation and collaboration. Mind mapping consists of a visual approach to thinking through an idea, project or product, in which the core idea is drawn with many branches leaving from the core, each of which relates to a certain aspect of the idea. In each branch, there can be ideas, attachments, images, links, related to the branch aspect of the core idea. The final, finished picture will depict the idea in a visual way with all the relevant details properly structured in separate branches.

This methodology is appealing to both right-brain and left-brain members, as it is visual and structured with details at the same time. It is possible to use a mind mapping software to facilitate online collaborative innovation, with contributors being in distant locations. There are many suppliers, including those who offer it as an online service and those who offer it as downloadable software, as well as many free tools.

The funding of the platform may come from three complementary sources:

  • Brokering commission for every challenge managed to be paid by the Seeker.
  • Sponsorship by many industry stakeholders, including the Government.
  • Exploitation of own patents bought by the platform to innovators

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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