Choosing the Right Open Innovation / Crowdsourcing Platform


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Here you get the chance to share your insights and experience on a real case in which a company needs to choose a service provider for their open innovation efforts.

It is a consumer-product company in Asia and they want to create a crowd-sourcing platform in which they can engage customers to generate ideas. Subsequently the company should be able to turn this input into ideas and innovations that drive business growth through this platform. The company has contacted a few solution providers and now they need to make a decision.

I like how the company has developed a set of questions that gives us an idea of what a company in such a situation focuses on. Perhaps you can help answer some of these questions or share other insights?

1. Who is more suitable for the job? An ideation crowdsourcing platform provider (e.g. Bright Ideas) or a market/consumer research agency using social media or technology to compliment the research job?

2. What is the most suitable form of the campaign? Should it be a short-term but intensive 3-month program or more like an ongoing ideation platform/community for public access?

3. Is there any single vendor having an offering that can engage external consumers (e.g. interactive on social media to generate ideas), and internal business departments (e.g. change management to turn ideas into innovations) equally well?

4. Most open innovation / crowdsourcing success stories are from US or Europe. Are there any notable successes in Asia? If not, why?

5. Are there any successful stories on using Salesforce Idea Platform, other than Starbucks & Dell?

6. What crowd size is better for a crowdsourcing campaign to generate ideas? Should you involve as many consumers as possible to discuss broad topics (e.g. MyStarbucksIdeas) or should you work with a small group of diversified customers for intensive and in-depth interaction to generate ideas on particular topics (e.g. online focus group)?

The company has also identified two clusters of service providers.

Cluster 1 consists of crowdsourcing solution providers with the likes of Spigit, BrightIdea, Napkins Lab,, Lithium and Salesforce. They focus on idea generation (with all features such as game mechanism, rewards, incentive to encourage input). Some of them have a process to filter and follow up with ideas to further concepts and products.

Cluster 2 consists of market research agencies or similar such as Chaordix, TNF Global and Flamingo. They are basically market/consumer research agencies that use digital technologies to recruit/engage focus group (also called crowd) to derive insights. The difference is that they can reach a wider audience than traditional offline focus groups, but other than that, everything else is typical research jobs – e.g. very intensive interaction and in-depth engagement with focus group to get qualitative and quantitative research.

Both clusters call themselves crowdsourcing or crowd intelligence with slightly different focus (and similar pricing also) making it a bit confusing for the company to make a decision.

So here you have a real case for a company trying to choose the right platform. You input is highly appreciated : – )

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.


  1. Stefan – Thank for mentioning Napkin Labs. These are all really excellent questions. As you may assume, we discuss these with clients daily.

    If the goal is to “engage customers” you’re going to want to stick with “Cluster 1.” These will have the offerings that include YOUR community and not some staged community. In regards to length – that depends. This type of engagement should be part of your everyday strategy, however, if there is a specific business aspect you want to focus on – then running a 1-2month campaign would be perfect.

    I’d be happy to discuss further how our clients have used the insights they received from use of our tools and implemented them into actions in business units.


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