Innovation For the People, By the People

26 May 10

When we think about government these days, “open” and “collaborative” aren’t the first words that come to mind. Bureaucracy is typically a hindrance to innovation—both in the business and the public sectors. Forward-thinking government agencies, however, are seeing the potential of tapping into group intelligence and mass collaboration to better embrace innovation.

In the U.S., President Obama has challenged his cabinet members to ensure that every federal department finds ways to openly discuss innovative solutions with the public over the next 18 months.

In response, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) launched the Open Innovation Portal in February 2010 as a tool to reach out to the community for solutions to educational challenges, such as increased high school dropout rates and low reading scores. The Open Innovation Portal now has more than 4,000 members, each of whom can post innovative ideas and rate others’ ideas based on defined criteria. Organizations and businesses can even post “challenges” for members. For example, IBM is providing $500,000 in grants through the Open Innovation Portal to support educational innovations that integrate IBM technologies. Read the rest of this entry »


Open & Collaborative Innovation in Life Science R&D

18 May 10

Open & Collaborative Innovation in Life Science R&DDiscover how “open-innovation” can improve R&D productivity at NextLevel Pharma’s Open & Collaborative Innovation in Life Science R&D conference. This event, which will be held in Munich, Germany from May 25th-26th, will allow attendees to gain an understanding of how open-innovation has worked in practice for other like minded organizations. The global life sciences industry faces many challenges in trying to harness the power of open-innovation. While the idea of pooling risk, costs and resources, and increasing R&D productivity at the same time is extremely attractive, there are many difficulties applying this practice to an industry that holds intellectual property protections in such high esteem. The life sciences industry has been slow to embrace stimulating innovation through open-source channels. The hesitation and skepticism is further fueled by questions of how to share risks and potential returns and how to measure success with the mostly unproven open business models.

Find out what the do’s and don’ts are in opening-up R&D to outsiders and how to reduce risk. The event will include case studies of successful implementation from pharmaceutical companies, academic-led consortia, non-profits, and public-private partnerships. Meet others who work in the life science industry, including VPs, Directors of Discovery, R&D, Innovation, Chief Scientific Officers, Therapy Area Heads, Pre-clinical Research, Licensing, Business Development, Alliances and Collaborations, Knowledge Management, R&D Outsourcing as well as those in academia, government and non-profit research institutes.

Innovator Interview: Tony Tomazic, Humana

29 March 10

futurethink Innovator Interview with Tony Tomazic from Humanafuturethink is launching another round of innovator interviews to share insights and best practices from leading innovation practitioners.  All of these interviews are free to download once you’ve registered on futurethink‘s website.

Our first interview in this series is with Tony Tomazic, Director of Consumer Innovations at Humana.  In his leadership role in the Humana Innovation Center, Mr. Tomazic focuses on developing and implementing programs to engage consumers in their health and promote well-being.

Below is an excerpt from his interview.  The full version can be download here. Read the rest of this entry »

LG Mobile Wants You to Design the Future

20 April 09

lg-designthefuture-logoMore and more companies are tapping the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to develop new products. The latest company to capitalize on this trend is LG Electronics.

LG Mobile Phones is challenging consumers to design the next LG mobile phone. The company is partnering with crowdSPRING (an online marketplace for creative services) and Autodesk (a leader in 2D and 3D design and engineering software) to define the future of personal mobile communication. The competition starts today, April 20th, and runs until June 7, 2009.

Visit to learn more and submit your designs.

The Ultimate Driving Open Source Machine

24 October 08

At the Convergence 2008 conference on automotive electronics yesterday, BMW announced that it is looking for partners with which to collaborate on an open-source car computing platform. No other auto companies have officially signed on to collaborate, though Chrysler, Ford, GM, and Honda have reportedly expressed interest. BMW’s goal, with or without partners, is to have an open-source operating system in a vehicle selling 200,000 or more units over the next five to seven years. Read the rest of this entry »

Ask Everyone

22 July 08

The New York Times ran a great piece this morning about InnoCentive, a company that helps connect companies and their challenges with people who might be able to solve those challenges. This company has been on our radar for a while, as they’ve carved out an interesting niche in the innovation world by providing sort of a marketplace for ideas.

It’s a pretty simple system, really. Companies post specific challenges to InnoCentive’s online database. InnoCentive helps these companies refine each challenge, and a “prize” is attached to it (usually between $10,000 and $25,000). The company posting each challenge is kept hidden. Anyone can log onto InnoCentive’s database and try to solve one of the challenges. Once someone comes up with a solution, they inform InnoCentive, transfer IP rights over to the company who posted the problem, collect their prize, and it’s done.

The beautiful part about this system is that anyone can try to solve the problems in the InnoCentive database. PhD’s, college students, it really doesn’t matter. The company has actually found that most of the “solvers” are people who are completely outside the industry of the challenge at hand. From the Times: Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

30 April 08

AHRQ Homepage

I don’t say this often and usually look at things with a healthy dose of skepticism. However, this is a such a wonderful idea. It’s called the “HealthCare Innovations Exchange” – a government website that offers visitors a compendium of tried and tested innovations across the healthcare sector. Think of them as case studies in innovation written by the innovators themselves.AHRQ Logo

Complete with a keyword search, and categorized into section like “Stage of Care”, “Setting of Care”, and “Organizational Process”, it’s an easy-to-use site that is filled with real life examples of innovations that have worked.

We’ve always been trained to think that innovation has to be something completely new, but this endeavor is a great reminder that a “fast-follower” strategy can work just as well. So, why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from others? Perhaps this is the beginning of many industry and trade associations to take a leadership role in shaping and mainstreaming how innovation can spread within their sectors. Think about powerful a similar “innovation exchange” can work especially in those industries that are ripe for innovation – airlines, insurance, financial services and more.

Of course, this would mean that contributors have an agenda to push forward a common good, but perhaps associations can play the netural, unbiased role in showcasing innovations that can take an entire industry forward.