How do you Crowdsource Innovation? James Gardner, Spigit's CTO, Explains

By Jeremy Brown | Crowdsourcing
January 20, 2016

Spigit’s Chief Technology Officer, James Gardner, is no stranger to innovation. He’s been there and done that in a number of ways and with a variety of tools. But if his start in financial services taught him anything, it’s that crowdsourcing innovation — at major healthcare institutions, financial services providers, and even automobile manufacturers — is the most effective way to discover new ideas and make them a reality.

How to Succeed at Crowdsourcing Innovation

In a recent article for Techonomy, Gardner sums up his extensive experience and research, providing practical advice on how leaders can best set themselves up for crowdsourcing innovation success. One point he returns to a few times? That it’s critical to remember that crowdsourcing innovation works because the people you’re getting ideas from are the very same people who are most knowledgeable about your business.

“Like innovation itself, the crowd can be complex. The people who know your business best are the most well-placed to help you address the many kinds of questions and challenges that crop-up in the day-to-day running of a company — from outmoded business processes, to product and service improvements, and customer experience,” he says. “This often means not just employees but others in your company ecosystem like customers and business partners. Research shows that crowdsourcing innovation can produce up to 65 percent more actionable ideas than traditional sources. Analysts at Gartner predict that within the next three years, over 75 percent of high-performing enterprises will be using some type of crowdsourcing to improve business processes.”

Innovation is Everyone’s Job

Amidst plenty of concrete examples and professional anecdotes, Dr. Gardner drives home an issue that most, if not all, company leaders have faced when developing an innovation program: involving everyone from front-line employees to chief executives is tricky primarily because most people don’t consider innovation to be their responsibility. He also notes that “people don’t innovate to order,” despite warnings that it’s both necessary and unavoidable.

“Working with leading innovation teams and programs in multiple industries, on multiple continents, and in various cultural settings, I’ve found it necessary for business leaders to work harder on defining what innovation means for their company,” he says. “It’s not just the practice of inventing new products or coming up with new ways of doing things. I’ve found companies are most successful when they approach innovation as a catalyst for culture change, a means of driving employee engagement, and a methodology for turning good ideas into great outcomes.”

Access the full article here.

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