Cultivating Engagement In Innovation Networks

Before any company attempts to leverage existing external networks for its open innovation initiatives, it must understand the existing levels of engagement in them and the various levels at which it can participate. This is important knowledge that will help a company develop the right tactics to get the most out of a network strategy.

The levels at which a company can participate in a network may be visualized as a ladder or pyramid. Companies need to set appropriate goals for engagement and contribution from the network participants at all levels. Valuable contributions take place at every level of the ladder or pyramid.  Too often in social networks, organizations focus on the very top level of contribution.  But because these kinds of contributors represent a small percentage of the overall number of participants, many social networks are prematurely deemed failures.

Although this article is focused primarily on social media, the network dynamics it discusses apply to open innovation and crowdsourcing initiatives, too.

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