Open Innovation Basics: Understanding the Power of the Crowd

By Catalina Gomez

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Changing the world, one idea at a time has to start somewhere. Even the organizations that regularly bring about revolutionary change had a first step to take on their journey. In the Innovation Basics series, we focus exclusively on what that first step could look like for newcomers to the innovation world. This series of Innovation Basics focuses on Open Innovation. Follow this guidance to achieve faster, better innovation.

Companies are constantly seeking new ways to stay ahead of the competition, drive growth, and bring unique solutions to the market. Amid this pursuit, the concept of Open Innovation has emerged as a powerful strategy that harnesses the collective intelligence of a crowd to foster creativity, solve complex problems, and drive business transformation.

The Power of the Crowd

The crowd, in the context of Open Innovation, represents a diverse and expansive pool of talent, ideas, and perspectives. The Wazoku Crowd is the world’s first accredited open talent crowd, having spent the last two decades expanding and solving problems for businesses as diverse as NASA, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline.

Leveraging the collective wisdom of a crowd like this can lead to breakthrough innovations that might have otherwise been overlooked within a closed ecosystem. Here are some key aspects of the power of the crowd in Open Innovation:

Diverse Insights: The crowd brings together individuals with varying backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. This diversity leads to a rich tapestry of ideas, fostering creative collisions that spark innovative solutions. Different viewpoints challenge assumptions and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.

Utilizing a Network: Open Innovation platforms enable mass collaboration on a global scale. Organizations can tap into a vast network of contributors who can ideate, refine, and validate ideas collectively. This amplifies the innovation process and accelerates the development of novel concepts.

Rapid Iteration: By engaging the crowd, companies can gather feedback and iterate on ideas quickly. This rapid cycle of iteration and improvement ensures that innovations are refined to meet real-world needs, enhancing the likelihood of successful implementation.

Enhanced Problem Solving: Complex challenges often require multidisciplinary perspectives. The crowd’s diverse skill set and background enable more comprehensive problem-solving, leading to robust and well-rounded solutions.

Market Validation: Involving the crowd in the innovation process provides an avenue for early-stage market validation. By gauging the interest and feedback from potential users, companies can refine their offerings and align them with market demands.

Implementing Open Innovation

Embracing Open Innovation requires a strategic approach that leverages the strengths of the crowd while addressing potential challenges. Here are some guidelines for effectively implementing Open Innovation:

#1 – Clear Objectives: Define the specific goals and challenges you aim to address through Open Innovation. Having clear objectives ensures that the crowd’s efforts are aligned with your organization’s strategic vision.

#2 – Engagement and Incentives: Encourage active participation by providing incentives that motivate contributors. Recognition, rewards, and opportunities for collaboration can inspire the crowd to engage more deeply.

#3 – Structured Platforms: Utilize dedicated online platforms designed for Open Innovation. These platforms facilitate idea submission, collaboration, and feedback, creating a structured environment for the crowd to contribute effectively.

#4 – Moderation and Quality Control: Implement a moderation process to filter out irrelevant or low-quality submissions. Ensuring a certain level of quality and proposal health maintains the integrity of the Open Innovation process.

#5 – Feedback Loop: Establish a feedback loop that keeps contributors informed about the progress of their ideas. Transparency and communication foster a sense of ownership and encourage continued engagement.

Open Innovation harnesses the collective intelligence of the crowd to drive innovation and propel organizations toward success. By embracing diverse perspectives, collaborating on a global scale, and rapidly iterating on ideas, businesses can unlock new opportunities and bring transformative solutions to the market.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, understanding and harnessing the power of the crowd through Open Innovation is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity for sustained growth and competitiveness.

Read the full Open Innovations Basics series

What do we mean by Open Innovation?

Behind the scenes of our Open Innovation process

Reframing problems to generate solutions

Understanding the power of the Crowd

The post-award timeline

Giving your solutions the best chance of success

The student opportunity

By Catalina Gomez

Catalina manages the experience of Wazoku's global crowd of 700,000+ problem solvers. Away from her desk, she's an incredible artist, regularly producing cartoons and illustrations for her friends and family.