A New Model For Crowdsourcing Innovation

On paper, crowdsourced innovation makes a lot of sense: If two heads are better than one, why not 20,000? Surely, some of those outsiders will have fresh solutions to your problem. But in practice, such programs have often not worked out as well as hoped. More often than not, even the best crowdsourced ideas disappear in a Bermuda Triangle of logistical difficulties, internal politics, and professional insecurity. A case in point is the crowdsourcing experiment of the VDMA, an industrial association that represents over 3,200 German mechanical engineering companies. VDMA identified six unresolved technical challenges facing its members and initiated an open, global call for solutions. The initiative yielded dozens of feasible ideas for tackling different challenges. Yet in the end, its members adopted none of them. All 3,200 organizations refused to use any solution that was not invented internally. Read more at Harvard Business Review.