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You – Yeah you – you gonna help me or what?

15 08 2008

It’s interesting how companies nowadays have taken to Open Innovation nowadays. Even more interesting is the reckless abandon with which they seem to implementing it without real thought as to why people would want to take part in their programs to help them. 

I mean – why, for the most part, should people outside your company bother to help you solve your problems? What’s in it for them?  Sure you’ll get some replies from fanatics in your user base because that’s just what they do – but very few companies are like Apple who have legions of fanatics ready to help at a moment’s notice (be honest with yourselves – no matter how good your services are, and how useful your product is to your end users – how many people are seriously enthusiastic out there about what you do? Especially if you’re not a consumer products company). 

So many companies fail to take into account that people outside your company need to be motivated to take part in any kind of idea/knowledge sharing process.  People will take part only if a) it’s easy to do so and b) they are motivated to do so by either social/monetary reasons.  Before you go out to people outside your company – make sure you put some thought into understanding the value proposition you’re putting out to people – what are you giving THEM in exchange for their ideas? If the answer is “not much” don’t be surprised when that’s also what you get – “not much”. 

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