Open Innovation: Don’t Mess Up Like Intuit!


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The innovation self-confidence at Intuit seems to be pretty high judging by this press release: The 30-year-old Startup: How Intuit’s Innovation Engine Thrives.

Here you get a short introduction to the innovation successes at Intuit and we are also told that Intuit’s approach to innovation has two core competencies that differentiate the company from its competition. They are:

• Customer-driven innovation, which is a mindset and methodology to uncover important, unsolved problems.

• Design for Delight, a process that helps create better ways to deliver what’s most important to customers. This approach to innovation creates an entrepreneurial environment where small teams collaborate to delight customers and deliver awesome product experiences.

Nothing wrong with this. Not at all. You can also read about a related, interesting initiative at Intuit in this blog post by Andrea Meyer: Intuit’s High-Velocity Experiments

A few years ago, Intuit also believed in open innovation. They had one of their best open innovation initiatives I have seen with Intuit Collaboratory, a platform in which Intuit boldly states that “this could be the start of a beautiful partnership.”

In 2011, they actually delivered on this as they had great people developing the open innovation mindset and processes as well as top executives backing this up. But hey, we are in 2013 today. Take another look at Intuit Collaboratory.

Did you notice the dates on the site? Nothing has really happened since 2011. Come on!

Either you shut down an initiative like this or you invest in it. Right now, Intuit just looks like a laughing stock and although this can bring out some smiles at some people, this also serves as an open innovation warning.

This is not how you become the preferred partner of choice within your innovation ecosystems.

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. Stephan, I’ve visited Intuit and rank it high on a short list of innovative firms.

    The fact that their “Collaboratory” is dormant suggests to me that they simply found it didn’t work.

    I do agree that they should shut it down if it’s not going to do any meaningful work.

  2. I have been involved with Intuit three times in the past twenty years. IMHO, they are neither innovative, note customer focused.

    My experience has been that they are cheerleading themselves so much, so often, they have little time to be productive. I’ve seen too much navel gazing and not enough true listening to their customer base.

    Again, MY opinion and it doesn’t match with those of the self congratulating consultants who Intuit seems to adore entertaining.

  3. Stefan – you are right that the Collaboratory site hasn't been updated. We plan to take the site down (and have meant to before now.) The directed or centralized approach to open innovation that Collaboratory represents is just not as relevant to where we are currently in our innovation journey.

    Open innovation is alive and well at Intuit. We highly value the collaborating we do with universities, technology partners, suppliers, customers, visionaries and others who challenge us to be our best. What we've learned along our journey is that our various teams have made open innovation a more integral part of how they work. And they have expressed that the results are more effective when they lead the projects. With this open innovation leadership taking place across the organization, we no longer needed the more centralized or directed approach of the Collaboratory site.

    We can share more insights with you if you'd like. We have some of the latest news about our culture of innovation and some of the current things we have in the works (many of which reflect our strong innovation ecosystem) highlighted on the Intuit Network.

    Hugh Molotsi, VP, Technology Innovation, Intuit

  4. Hugh, thanks for your perspective! It sounds like you are moving toward the next-generation of open innovation in which is is more embedded in the overall innovation process. That is a good thing. It would be nice to learn more about your initiatives. Let’s connect on LinkedIn and find a way to talk.



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