Everything You Need To Know About Open Innovation And Crowdsourcing!


It’s your best friend’s birthday and you want to organize a big party. You want it to be fabulous! So, you have to think about the theme, menu, music, drinks, entertainment, and so on. Or you can involve other people who can help you by bringing their ideas and their skills and you can have them manage a specified aspect of the party. If you organize the whole party by yourself then you are in complete control of the process and you have full responsibility, but delegating others to take care of certain tasks will mean that you don’t become overwhelmed and that the final party is a team effort, inclusive of many individuals and ideas. The choice between organizing it all by yourself and doing it with a group is the choice between a closed and an open model.

From closed to open innovation

A closed innovation model is based on the view that innovations are developed by companies themselves. From the generation of ideas to development and marketing, the innovation process takes place exclusively within the company. Closed Innovation places very high demands on employees so the company strives to hire highly qualified employees and pays a great deal of attention to protecting its own intellectual property accordingly.

On the other hand, in an open model, the innovation process happens inside and outside the company in order to increase innovation potential through the active strategic use of the environment. Therefore, innovation arises through the interaction of internal and external ideas, technologies, processes and sales channels. However, this doesn’t mean free access to a company’s knowledge and technology! The term refers more so to collaborative networking.


While the concept of crowdfunding is clear and common in our society, less well-known is the idea of crowdsourcing. The key difference between the two concepts is that crowdfunding provides financial support without being required to directly develop a part of the project. The term crowdsourcing, instead, is a combination of crowds and outsourcing and as the term implies, crowdsourcing exploits the widespread skills of a group of unorganized individuals to develop an idea or project.

For example, a company that wants to launch a new product or a new service on the market could develop the project using only its internal resources, or it can choose to involve the community to support in realizing the project. It is a kind of brainstorming that takes place on the web: anyone interested in the project voluntarily and freely gives his/her inputs to develop the project.


Below, we put forward 4 examples to encourage and inspire you to apply the concept to your own business!

  1. QUIRKY is a community-led invention platform. The concept behind Quirky is that you can put your product idea up on Quirky while other memeber of the Quirky community can comment and contribute to your idea. Thus, the final product is developed by the community.
  2. Lego is another example of how engaging your users can create more value. Lego activates its users through its Create and Share site as well as the Lego Ideas site. The Create and Share website lets Lego community members share their designs and Lego pictures, while the Ideas website actually aims to inform new product releases.
  3. Most medical R&D is still done in a traditional, costly and slow way. The United Genomes Project (UGP) provides a different view of medical R&D. The project uses open innovation to create breakthrough medical innovations in Africa through its open source genetic database.
  4. Telegram is a messenger application that works on computers and smartphones. What makes Telegram interesting and popular is the fact that you can customize it to your liking. Indeed, users can contribute to their content openly.


So, young entrepreneurs keep your mind open and don’t be scared about sharing your idea because the collaboration with other organizations or people can lead to big and better innovations!

Here some practical takeaways to implement open innovation into your business model to enhance business:

  • In order to create an engaged community, you need to make sure that you are committed enough for people to really believe in your initiatives.
  • Collaborating with companies like local startups can be very useful. These companies often have products that can complement or be integrated into your products, creating value for both parties.
  • If your business sells products B2C, aim at activating your users to support in the creation of variations or a new version of your product that increase their market fit to your target consumer group. Taking customers feedback seriously will show that your business cares about customer satisfaction.
  • If your employees are knowledge workers and you pay them for their creative thinking, it makes sense that you include all of them in the process of innovating new products and features.

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