My Interview for Enterprise Leadership

March 23, 2010  

A while back I was interviewed by Tom Parish at EnterpriseLeadership.org.  On their site, you will find the following description:

In this podcast, Steve Shapiro, InnoCentive’s vice president of strategic consulting, talks about how InnoCentive’s open innovation model has helped companies solve the most challenging problems.

When the Oil Spill Recovery Institute in Alaska wanted to find out how to pump out the almost solidified oil at the bottom of Prince William Sound from the Exxon Valdez spill, the Institute did not turn to its researchers. Instead they posted a challenge to InnoCentive, an emerging company that specializes in open innovation also called crowdsourcing. According to The New York Times, the Institute paid John Davis, a chemist from Illinois, more than $20,000 for his idea. Davis, an expert on cement, figured that if vibrating cement can keep it from hardening, then a similar concept can be adapted to keep the oil in the tanks from freezing.

Founded in 1998 by three scientists working for Eli Lilly, the major pharmaceutical company, InnoCentive became an independent company in 2001. To date InnoCentive, companies, such as Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble, and not-for-profits have posted more than 1,000 challenges on InnoCentive. Research areas include everything from business processes to chemistry. Steven Shapiro, InnoCentive’s vice president of strategic consulting, says that today corporations cannot depend on their internal research and development departments to solve their toughest problems. “They need to look at external resources. InnoCentive’s enables these organizations to tap into a global network of 200,000 solvers who enjoy the challenge of competing for a cash reward. Our partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation is helping to solve problems posted by not-for-profits working in poor countries.”

In this podcast, Shapiro explains the reasons for using open innovation to solve tough problems, InnoCentive’s business model for generating revenue, some of InnoCentive’s most successful challenges, the benefits of using InnoCentive, and the challenges this company faces in this economy.

You can listen to (or download) this podcast here.

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