As a company, where would you go looking for new ideas? Innovation?

The WSJ reports:

When companies try to come up with new ideas, they too often look only where they always look. That won’t get them anywhere.

The ideas are typically at the edge of a company’s radar screen, and
sometimes a bit beyond: trends in peripheral industries, unserved needs
in foreign markets, activities that aren’t part of the company’s core
business. To be truly innovative, companies sometimes have to change
their frames of reference, extend their search space. New ways of
thinking and organization can be required as well.

InnoCentive.com

is a site where people and companies look for help in solving
scientific and business challenges. Posters of challenges sometimes
offer cash rewards for solutions: Amounts have ranged from $5,000 to $1
million. The site began as an in-house tool for research scientists at Eli Lilly & Co. to help one another. Now it is independent, with Indianapolis-based Lilly as a founding shareholder.

Sometimes innovations arise when different departments talk to each other. But what’s the best way to start the conversation?

Many companies set up so-called communities of practice, which are
typically internal Web sites where employees are encouraged to share
knowledge and skills important to the company.

Advertisements