Why don’t more companies run open challenges to solve problems?

amazondc-lg
Amazon.com is only the latest company to expose a problem it is grappling with and ask for outside help. Its Picking Challenge, wrapping up this month, invites participants to design robots and accompanying control software that can grab products from a shelf and place them into a box. Success would help Amazon drive down costs and increase efficiency in its distribution centers around the world.

Companies like Netflix, GE, and Philips have run similar challenges in recent years. But why aren’t we seeing many other Fortune 500 companies follow suit?

Harvard Business School professor Karim Lakhani says that the biggest barrier may be that internal company “experts” don’t believe that “some kid in Indonesia will solve a hard problem they have been struggling with” — and they don’t want to be proven wrong. Lakhani says that today, there is much more supply of academic and entrepreneurial brainpower willing to pitch in on challenges than there is “demand” of companies asking for help. (Well worth a read is Lakhani’s 2013 article on “Using Open Innovation to Identify the Best Ideas.”)

... continued ...

Gated Article Promo

Read the rest of the article ... and give IL a test drive!

Complete the form below for a 3-day trial of Innovation Leader, including access to case studies, research excerpts, live calls, and other resources. Got questions? Get in touch »
SEE INNOVATION LEADER IN ACTION!
Watch this quick video to see the main benefits of Innovation Leader membership.
 
Innovation Leader
What Is Innovation Leader?
Are you responsible for creating new growth in a large organization? We've got you covered. IL members get full access to our research, articles, case studies, live events, webcasts & conference calls, downloadable resources and more. Become a member »

Case Studies, Articles
Members-only online access to articles, case studies, best practices, video tutorials, more.
RESEARCH REPORTS
Exclusive reports on topics including metrics, benchmarking, labs, compensation, and more.
IL Events LIVE EVENTS
Member discounts to our one-of-a-kind, loved-by-participants live learning events.
Il Resources RESOURCE CENTER
Dozens of downloadable checklists, innovation frameworks, spreadsheets, and dashboards.
Learn More & Become a Member