InnoCentive Empowers Major U.S. Cities to Innovate through Crowdsourcing and Innovation Prizes

By Wazoku

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WALTHAM, Mass. – October 14, 2009 – InnoCentive, Inc., the world leader in crowdsourcing and prize-based innovation, today announced a new initiative, to empower the nation’s largest cities to affect change through open innovation. With access to the creative and collaborative power of InnoCentive’s 180,000 plus global Solver network, cities now have the means to address their most pressing challenges and citizens can take a hands-on approach to help solve problems that directly impact their lives. Because InnoCentive is committed to empowering the public sector to embrace prize-based innovation and understands that government organizations are particularly challenged fiscally right now, the company will waive the fees for these cities to run eligible Challenges through February 28, 2010.

The City of Boston is the first city to accept InnoCentive’s open innovation invitation, with a Challenge that will be made public later this month. To date, the following cities have been invited to participate in this opportunity: Austin, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Memphis, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.

“We believe that the people of Boston are some of the most innovative in the world,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  “This project is a wonderful new way for our administration to tap into the great ideas of folks both locally and globally as we search for creative solutions that will make our city even stronger.”

By posting Challenges on InnoCentive’s open innovation network, cities can demonstrate their commitment to resolving issues that are top-of-mind for residents through open innovation and collaboration. This approach allows cities to avoid the most common barriers that often prevent them from affecting positive change quickly. Challenges posted could focus on ways to become more carbon efficient, make it easier to recycle, improve urban transportation, better public housing, or increase energy efficiency at public schools. Cities are only asked to provide the award funds for the winning Solver and to encourage active participation amongst its citizens. InnoCentive is waiving all other costs associated with the Challenge and will provide a dedicated client services team to support the development of the Challenge. By providing cities with their expertise on how best to develop and phrase innovation Challenges, InnoCentive ensures a high likelihood of a solution.

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce was the first organization from a major metropolitan area to post a Challenge on InnoCentive’s open innovation marketplace. This Challenge was solved earlier this year, generating more than 125 ideas to increase regional mass transit ridership to reach one billion in annual rides with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions released by automobiles. The winning idea came from a Chicago-based urban affairs writer who was awarded the $5,000 prize. The organization posted the Challenge not only to showcase the power of crowdsourcing to solve a real issue that affects the businesses and residents of the region, but also to carve a path for other cities to join them in their effort to promote community collaboration.

“We are providing cities with a new resource- the collective brain power of their most active community members and the rest of world,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “The potential to solve Challenges currently impacting city residents and affect significant change is unlimited.”


About InnoCentive, Inc.


Since 2001, InnoCentive has helped corporate, government, and non-profit organizations to better innovate through crowdsourcing, strategic consulting services and internal Software-as-a-Service offerings.  The company built the first global Web community for open innovation where organizations or “Seekers” submit complex problems or “Challenges” for resolution to a “Solver” community of more than 180,000 engineers, scientists, inventors, business professionals, and research organizations in more than 175 countries. Prizes for winning solutions are financial awards up to US $1,000,000.  Committed to unleashing diverse thinking, InnoCentive continues to introduce new products and services exemplifying a new corporate model where return to investors and individual passion go hand in hand with solving mankind’s most pressing problems.


Press contact:


Connie French
InnoCentive Marketing Director

By Wazoku

Wazoku is an innovation SaaS business that helps some of the world’s biggest organizations to innovate at scale. Whether it’s making the most of your employee's ideas, identifying new partners to collaborate with, or exploring the boundless potential of open innovation – or all three! – Wazoku makes innovation happen.