February 9, 2012

12 Days of Innovation for Marketers – Day 11 – Five Innovation Communities To Watch

“Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure. Einstein

These are not in any particular order, and run the gamut in terms of content.  The descriptions are from the companies, not from me.  I follow all of them to get a flavor of what’s going on, as well as receive in many cases, daily updates to so they can curate content that I might otherwise miss.  That said, you can always search out the topics of interest to you.



  • Innocentive is the veteran statesman of the group.  They pioneered the category of social innovation.  They’ve gotten more sophisticated and dare I say a little more salesy over the years, but then, they do have bragging rights.

From their site: “InnoCentive is the open innovation and social production/crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. Our proven Challenge Driven Innovation Methodology, community of millions of problem solvers and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs.”

  • EdisonNation is a weird model if you ask me, but then, I would feel like I had done you a disservice by not mentioning it.  They focus on delivering inventions.  Technically, I do not treat this as innovation in our purest definition, but it might be close.  However, the community has enough interest that if they try to elevate it, it might have the traction to go further.  It also might become Ronco, Ginsu and Popiel all in one – without the positive income pieces attached.  (BTW – the Malcolm Gladwell story of Ron Popiel is interesting.)

From their site: People from around the world use Edison Nation to get their innovations in front of retailers and manufacturers, to store and perfect their ingenious ideas, keep up with inventive friends, and learn what it takes to create and introduced a successful product into the market. It doesn’t cost a thing to become a member. Join today and see how we can get your inventions in stores!


  • Innovation Excellence offers you a daily dose of innovative methods, ideas and interviews.  They are more community than production focused in contrast to the first two choices.  I also like the fact that they are skimmable, which is helpful.   They are active, which I think offers a robustness not found elsewhere.

From their site:  Innovation Excellence is the online home of the global innovation community, building upon a rapidly-growing network with thousands of members from over 170 countries – thought leaders, practitioners, consultants, vendors, and academia. Our mission is to provide a forum for connection and conversation across this community – assembling an ever-growing arsenal of resources, best practices and proven answers for achieving innovation excellence.


  • IDEO Open Innovation is a place focused on more social good projects.  However, I believe that any opportunity to be closer to IDEO methods and thinking is generally a good idea.  I started with their book Thoughtless Acts and was hooked.  Then I moved to the 10 Faces of Innovation…and so on and so forth…The thing about IDEO is the humanity and connectedness you feel to the ideas and the people.  It’s inspiring and I find that central to creating change.

From their site: OpenIDEO is a place where people design better, together for social good. It’s an online platform for creative thinkers: the veteran designer and the new guy who just signed on, the critic and the MBA, the active participant and the curious lurker. Together, this makes up the creative guts of OpenIDEO. To become a place where good ideas gain momentum, OpenIDEO depends on participation — your inspirations, his comments, her concepts, our design process. It’s these efforts, these big and small moments of sharing and collaboration, that make this platform a dynamic resource for tackling significant global challenges. IDEO, a design and innovation firm, developed OpenIDEO as a way to include a broader range of people in the design process through inspiration, concepting, and evaluation.


  • OpenInnovation.net is probably the most attractive and news-styled site of the group.  The categories it features are practical and worthwhile.   Open Innovation, Open Services innovation, Business Model Innovation, In Practice, Research.  You get the hint.  It’s easy to use and offers easily the best experience.  It also seems to have the big company feel that some people like in their innovation, I’s dotted, t’s crossed.  That being said, the content is worthwhile, albeit sometimes it feels less revolutionary and customer focused and more “institutional.”

From their site:  The Open Innovation Portal serves as an informational resource for thought leaders, consultants, authors, business leaders, academics and others who have a deep interest in open innovation. Created and hosted by the father of open innovation, Henry Chesbrough, Executive Director of the Center for Open Innovation at the Haas School of Business, this forum builds on a site organized by Joel West and is intended to be a digital community where theory is put into practice. The contribution of passionate opinions and sharing of “best practices” is encouraged – especially when substantiated with evidence – along with reactions and interpretations related to news headlines and events.


After you check out and join an community or two today, we hope you’ll come visit us and share your thoughts.  Tomorrow, we go to one of this team’s favorite places.   We hope you’ll join us.

Cristene, Kevin and Debbie