An Overview of Social Media Tools and Services for Open Innovation Efforts


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On the intersection of open innovation and social media, I find these tools and services to be the most relevant.

Communities: Open innovation has many channels for business opportunities – virtually as well as physically. There is a growing need for companies to have a strong destination site, and I believe we will see a shift in which this has to look more like a community rather than pure needs/assets sites such as P&G’s Connect+Develop. Communities will have a mix of content, business functions such as needs /assets listings and social networking features.

Ingenuity Working is an example. With over 12,000 registered users in the community, the site receives over 60,000 visitors per month. Adoption has been so successful that it has more visitors in its community than its corporate website ( In addition, the community is twice as sticky in terms of site visit duration as compared to the corporate website.

Twitter: First, a heads-up. Twitter is practically useless unless you use an application such as TweetDeck, which allows you to filter through the crazy stream of content. Once this is up and running, you have a great business intelligence tool that allows you to track topics that are of interest to you. Twitter can also be used to broadcast your messages although you do need several thousand followers – and relevant content – to see real results from this.

LinkedIn: Knowledge is the key element to innovation, and LinkedIn is a great tool for identifying people with knowledge. This works especially well if you upgrade to a business account. It is also possible to get good replies if you start a discussion in the LinkedIn groups, but there is unfortunately also too much noise (spam) in these groups.

Google+: Critical mass is a key factor here. If Google+ gains this, it will be an interesting platform for companies and individuals to share insights and ideas and help them work the innovation interest graph. Google+ could also become a great learning experience for corporate innovation units if they encourage employees to create profiles and experiment with the platform.

YouTube: It offers an interesting opportunity to show – rather than just describe – how innovation can make a difference. This can be very relevant in some industries although the process of making videos that people want to watch is more difficult than “just” creating good content. GE uses YouTube for their Ecomagination Challenge and WD-40 used it for internal training for the implementation of an idea management system.

SlideShare: Here you can upload your presentations and view those of others. The traffic is surprisingly high, which turns SlideShare into a potential promotion vehicle. As presentations usually are refined down to key messages, it is also a good place to find insights and inspiration.

Quora: The buzz has gone, but the idea of becoming the best source for the answer to as many questions as possible might create some value for corporate innovation teams.

Facebook: The 800-pound gorilla rules the “social graph” and in many ways, this makes it less relevant for corporate innovation units, but this is definitely different for industries with lots of consumer interaction.

It is also worth noting that intermediaries and service providers such as InnoCentive, NineSigma,, IdeaConnection, Spigit, BrightIdea and HYPE Innovation have begun building social elements into their offerings. Furthermore, the development of new services and tools happens at such a fast pace that we do not really know what will be available just 12 months from now.

The key is to look at and work with many different services and tools and build a “system” in which you capture value out of all these tools at the same time. An important element of capturing value is to be able to direct stakeholders to the “destination site” where you not only have a vibrant community where stakeholders can learn from each other and co-create value but also a place that bring innovation opportunities to the host.

Let me know what you think of this and what other tools and services that should be included.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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