Re-Envisioning the Front End of Innovation through Open Innovation

Please note at the bottom of this post we invite you to register for the May 24th TopCoder Webinar focusing on innovation in the Front-End.

In late April I had the privilege of presenting and participating on a panel on social product innovation. A neat wrinkle was that this wasn’t taking place at an Open Innovation conference or an event canvassing Crowdsourcing tactics and techniques. It was at an event in Knoxville dubbed Social Slam – #SoSlam if you were following on Twitter. The curator of the event, Mark W. Schaefer, had the foresight to include a panel on social innovation understanding that the world’s of marketing, technology and Big Data are converging in the social media space and present opportunities to deliver extraordinary value to end-users by way of new digital products and apps. During my portion of the presentation, after briefly introducing the TopCoder Community and what we canvass, I shared this simple slide with the audience:

Future of Work and Innovation - The 3 P's Platforms, Parallelization, Productivity - TopCoder

Productivity – Who can honestly say they have all the bandwidth and technological savvy they need to accomplish all of their goals? Do you have less to accomplish today than a decade ago, or scores more? How fast is technology changing around you and your enterprise? These are legit challenges affecting how you produce & innovate.

Platforms – You now have access to knowledge platforms such as Innocentive, TopCoder and uTest and this means you have access to hyperspecialists from around the globe that can help you innovate more successfully.

Parallelization – This is the key. On individual projects you can garner multitudes of solutions, attempts, designs, answers and beyond. As an enterprise, you can simply get scores more done by utilizing platforms to greatly enhance your overall productivity.

What does all of this mean? In laymen’s terms: You can take more swings, on a smaller spend than ever before. In this hyper-paced technology environment, you can’t stop attempting to innovate. And where does innovation begin? Most often this takes place in what is known as the FEI or Front End of Innovation.

TopCoder Slide Defining FEI

A major challenge of most FEI processes is the inability to quantify the potential value of the outputs during these front end stages. Peering as far down the product life-cycle as possible – into working prototypes – does afford you some vision, but it can remain a crapshoot as to which products or services will truly have an impact by making it to market. The most effective way to increase your chances of success is to take more chances.

Traditionally, this would correlate to some type of increase in your exposure to risk. You’d have to ramp up your efforts with some combination of hiring (or sourcing) more individuals and overall, you would need to attempt more projects. These can both be big positives for an enterprise, but often you don’t have the budget for new personnel nor can you afford to fail as often as might be required to get to that homerun innovation. So what has changed? Why is Enterprise Open Innovation better and how is it different than traditional paths to innovation or even “traditional” Crowdsourcing efforts?

It all boils down to re-thinking the very way you approach innovation. When you take more swings, especially in the front-end of innovation, you succeed more. Join us on May 24th at 2:15 PM (Eastern) for a free educational webinar that will illuminate the world of Enterprise Open Innovation (EOI) and showcase how you can wield such a platform to ignite your front-end efforts.

Please register here – Space is limited.

TopCoder Webinar Series - FEI Registration :Page

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