Mindstorms Big Robot on Campus, the NetFlix Prize, The Electrolux Design Challenge - these are all classic high-profile examples of open innovation challenges or forums that invite "outsiders" in to innovate with companies. This is different than promoting an open-source marketplace like Linux or iPhone application development. These historic examples are not about tapping into a scalable marketplace of innovation (see Nesta's P&G Corporate Open Innovation Challenge as an example), they are about making their internal teams more creative, more productively innovative, and about investing in a culture of innovation (and, therefore, sustainable growth and defensible marketplace advantage). Hard to justify with quarterly earnings releases. But that is why purposeful business culture is hard and requires leadership.
I remember attending the MIT Media Lab on behalf of a funding company I worked for at that time (Discovery). Corporations would fund professors and teams at MIT to explore hugely interesting yet often esoteric-seeming topics. The reality of this program is that it always felt at arms length. I am not sure how many people at Discovery actually knew their company was involved with MIT. The best examples are when everyone knows. Here's what I think you get:
Original Article: Open Innovation Fuels Growth (But Can You Measure it) - Digital Influence Mapping Project