Open innovation websites: Pros and cons

Open innovation websites are growing. How does this affect your internal process for innovation? Websites can drive both good and bad behavior regarding your internal innovation process.

The growth of open innovation websites is undeniable. From formal broker fee model sites that match innovative ideas with problem solvers to the simpler idea sites that are no to low cost and provide individuals with feedback to posted ideas or inventions, these sites seem to be springing up everywhere.

This rapid growth, however, begs the question: What type of innovation behavior do open innovation sites drive? If your open innovation strategy consists of the “post and hope” model – which relies on someone finding your entry on one of these sites to provide a “Eureka” moment, then a broader approach is seriously needed.

The web’s ability to garner inputs for innovative ideas, products and inventions is limitless - but it is only one of many instruments in your innovation toolbox. The others include but are not limited to competitors, customers and technology sensing methods. 

The toolbox is your internal process for managing your pipeline to move ideas from all of these sources from concept to either reality, rejection or somewhere in between, depending upon the level of evaluation required. A balanced approach is best. The web can provide the visibility to make the right connection, but without a good internal process to vet innovations from a variety of sources, the web may drive a “sit back and wait” approach to innovation.

At the least, you may want to utilize several of these sites to broaden your scope and web audience.