Innovation is critical for success of business and also in the improvement of our daily lives. An innovative approach is vital to entrepreneurship, and as management guru Peter Drucker once explained:
“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth”.
Innovation and collaborative working are becoming increasingly adopted by many to drive success. The Open 100 is a wiki-based website that presents some of the most innovative companies that are in the market today. These companies are specifically “open innovators”. To qualify as an open innovator, the website explains that organisations need to show that they share or gather data, tools, information and facilities with other people and/or organisations to co-develop products, services or strategies, and who make a commercial or social impact through doing this. The important point to note here is that the development is shared, and highly collaborative. Many different kinds of companies have been nominated to join the list to date, and they range from well-known names like eBay, the BBC and BT, to seemingly more unlikely suspects such as Ebbsfleet United, the Co-op Bank and Starbucks. Here, we examine five companies from the list to review their innovation.
Starbucks perhaps does not stand out in your mind as being a company that is particularly innovative. It serves you your daily cup of coffee, and that’s great, but that’s about it, right? Wrong. Starbucks has created a collaborative forum where people can share ideas for innovation at Starbucks. Called “My Starbucks Idea” anyone can share ideas for innovation in drinks, food, ordering, atmosphere, location and payments and even socially responsible. That’s right – you can tell Starbucks how they should be socially responsible. Ideas on the forum are very diverse, and this allows Starbucks to get some interesting input to develop its business in exciting new ways.
Here’s one you may not necessarily have heard of: Riversimple. Riversimple was nominated specifically for its open car design process. Its focus is on “the systematic elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport”, and the car that has been developed promises fuel efficiency and environmental performance. It achieves this by being powered via a hydrogen fuel cell. The cars are not sold, but rather customers get a car and all the fuel and insurance to run it for a fixed monthly fee. This is certainly a new way of looking at transportation. The following video presents you the hydrogen car:
Moodle is one that may be familiar to anyone that has studied recently. Moodle claims to have one of the largest open source teams in the world and consequently is supported by a global community. In fact, Moodle is supported by 60 companies worldwide that are certified Moodle partners. It helps to encourage learning among its users by helping teachers and students to be able to work together collaboratively. All of this is particularly helpful for remote learning, and enhanced communication between students and their teachers, all of which has a positive impact on learning outcomes.screenshot of website Moodle
A less well-known name for some might be Ning, but Ning is also on the list of open innovators. Ning focuses on allowing people to be able to build their own social networks providing the platform that they need to be able to better connect with their communities. There are a wide range of different features available to those that decide to go down this route, including forums, photos, likes, sharing, customizable member profiles, sub groups, blogging features, integration of videos, custom design and URL and privacy controls and spam protection. The final outcome promises to be smart phone and tablet ready, saving people a lot of time and stress.
CureTogether is another great innovator that appears on the list. CureTogether allows people to work together for the purposes of patient-driven research into illness and medicines with a goal of achieving better health. People can help others that are going through the same thing, and use of the website is both anonymous and free, which can be important for people that do not necessarily want to share the knowledge of their conditions openly with the world. After all, some illnesses have stigma attached to them, so this anonymity feature is important. CureTogether already has ratings for treatments for 637 different health conditions, so is an excellent resource for patients that are struggling to find answers.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.