Archive for: June, 2013

Are crowdsourced ideas from engaged customers worthless?

Are crowdsourced ideas from engaged customers worthless?

From Kirsten Osolind (@reinventioninc):

Thinking of running an Open Innovation Contest? Think Again. Interesting Read from MIT’s Office of Corporate Relations suggesting that innovation can only come from within, that crowdsourced ideas from engaged customers are basically worthless.

My take:

I think the nature of how we innovate changes. When Henry Ford was alive, the internet didn’t exist. Same thing with the Wright Bros. I think today, where collaboration is almost a given, we’re still figuring out how to open up. The barriers to “being daring” are lower now, but that also means that less daring ideas are on the table. With that said, I personally side with working in smaller groups and strategically tapping outsiders, as opposed to just “opening the gates” to whatever. The enemy is groupthink, it is always waiting to show its head. Lots of opinions are cancelled out by a person’s or small group’s drive to pursue what they clearly think should be done.

Also, it is expected that customers will replace R&D as the main source of new ideas. So, we will see more companies co-creating with customers. That is a given. This is still unexplored territory. The game is still to be defined…

Does innovation only come from within? What do you think?

Q&A: Stu Heilsberg, biz development guru, on how to stop guessing what customers want

Developing business isn’t about sitting in your conference room hypothesizing all different reasons why people need your product or service, and how you might get business. As you know, there is a lot of guessing. To move beyond this, you need to get outside the building to interact and learn about your ecosystem of partners, providers and customers, not just your immediate prospects.

It takes a different mindset, says Stu Heilsberg. A “stop guessing” mindset.

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Stu Heilsberg’s book The Answers Are Outside The Building, where he lays out how to stop guessing. To get more insights, I did a quick interview with him.

Innovating when the old rules don’t fit the new environment

anticipating change

A few weeks ago, I wrote about future-proofing yourself by asking questions that anticipate great challenges. Why am I bringing this up again? Because, like you, I still get to engage companies that are disconnected from “what is” and “what could be”. There is a huge gap between how they perceive their environment, and how these changes might make their products and/or services obsolete.

They, like others, say: if all is going well inside our four walls, why break it. Right?


This is tunnel vision at its finest. Breaking from what your know well is a daunting task that most organizations acknowledge after disaster has struck. Overcoming this tunnel vision is a leadership and management challenge.

But, leaders must understand that what worked for you in the past, won’t work again. Sure, there are principles/guidelines we all follow that are just common sense for any point in time. But, there other rules that become irrelevant with time, either because of external change, or because some company is pushing the boundaries and changed the game.

What do we do in situations like these (which is happening this precise moment)?