Documents Essay

9322 WordsJul 25, 201438 Pages
N9-608-170 JUNE 10, 2008 KARIM R. LAKHANI InnoCentive.com (A) “Collaboration is one of the most important issues on our plate,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive.com (IC), a so-called innovation marketplace founded in 2000 that connected “Seeker” firms posing scientific problems (“Challenges”) with external “Solvers” who submitted solutions. Seekers that judged solutions acceptable rewarded the Solvers with cash prizes and assumed the associated intellectual property (IP) rights. IC had thrived in the marketplace by creating a process for helping to resolve seemingly intractable scientific and technical problems in a context that assured anonymity. Solvers worked on problems independently of one another and of Seekers, who likewise were unaware of other Seekers and of who Solvers were until the awarding of prizes. In late May 2008, when the results of a survey of Seekers and Solvers had come up during lunch with IC chief technical officer David Ritter and VP of client services Lisa Reinhold, Spradlin had observed that “some of these responses about collaboration confirm what we’ve already learned from Solvers, particularly from our Ideation Challenge. This does seem like a natural move on our part.” The Ideation Challenge had involved soliciting from Solvers ideas about how to create communication and teamwork within IC’s Solver community. The survey had also indicated an interest among Solvers in seeing the domain expanded to include problems in the non-profit realm. “Well,” interjected Ritter, “our new platform can certainly accommodate collaboration if we want that to happen.” Ritter had spearheaded an effort to overhaul IC's Web site to make it more “Facebook-like,” as he described it. “We can set up team rooms and provide a variety of tools for group work, Web 2.0 style community functionality, discussion groups, and improved informational and

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