Jack Dahlgren wrote a good post, Cisco I-Prize and Spigit – Innovation Competition. In it, he examines some of the dynamics surrounding the recent Cisco I-Prize, and open innovation contests in general.
He raises a good question in this part of his post:
“If your organization is filled with people so steeped in the company culture and business that they can’t envision a world outside, then getting fresh ideas for free is a win-win situation, at least for the winners. It may not be so great for the people who don’t win.”
The first thing to note is, if you’re an entrepreneur with an idea you want to develop yourself, you don’t enter this competition. People are in charge of their destiny here.
But there are many people with good ideas, but for whom entrepreneurship may not be an option. They may not be comfortable with that level of personal financial risk. They may have families where career stability is a must. They may have job situations they love, and aren’t interested in dropping out. They may not have the skills and connections to move their idea forward by themselves.
Motivations to participate include:
- The prize itself
- The chance to interact with others over your idea
- Personal competitive spirit
- Desire to see idea turn into a product/business that interests you
- Early signal whether you have the “stuff” to enter into a new field
From such people, great ideas can emerge. And indeed, they did. Large enterprises have the resources to co-create with external parties. It’s just a matter of a willingness to do so. Like Cisco.
Editor’s Note: For a bit of a flashback, check out this article announcing the second Cisco iPrize competition (including a video interview with Cisco’s Sharon Wong).
Hutch Carpenter is the Vice President of Product at Spigit. Spigit integrates social collaboration tools into a SaaS enterprise idea management platform used by global Fortune 2000 firms to drive innovation.