Collaborative Innovation Communities – where companies and customers collaborate on ideas for new products and services – can be one of the most valuable ways to invest in community engagement. Unfortunately, this type of community is also one of the most difficult to get right. Many companies have experimented with this type of Open Innovation – Lego Ideas, Dell’s IdeaStorm, Starbucks’ My Starbucks Idea – and each of these companies have seen value from the communities. The bad news is that most companies fail because they lack the vision and commitment to see beyond the initial tactic of soliciting customer ideas.
With the right programs, platforms, community ecosystem design and internal alignment, Collaborative Innovation communities can produce incredible value.
Intense Pressure to Innovate
In an updated version of their famous “Creative Destruction” Report, research firm Innosight predicts that the average tenure of a company in the S&P 500 index will drop from 24 years (2016) to just 12 years by 2027. In a recent survey of Corporate Innovation Executives, research firm CB Insights found that ~41% of executives said that felt their companies were “extremely” or “very” at risk of being disrupted.
Spectrum of Innovation Communities
In studying the types of innovation communities, we feel the range can be narrowed down to 3 categories:
- Brand-Hosted Communities: Where a single brand hosts an innovation community focused on the brand’s products, services or business model
- Project-Based Communities: Communities of experts that come together to solve problems or challenges around a particular domain.
- Grand Challenges: A challenge-based community that convenes a diverse ecosystem of smaller communities to solve massively complex problems.
In practice, most corporate innovation initiatives ignore the value communities and networks can provide. The chart below is a simple illustration of how community could support different innovation types:
The full slide deck, with examples of Brand and Project-Based communities can be found here:
The companion worksheet for planning your Collaborative Innovation initiative can be found here:
The working list of Brand-based communities, Project-based communities and host platforms can be found here:
I’ve developed a workshop to help organizations learn about, ideate on and plan their Collaborative Innovation strategy. I’m also creating a small work group (mastermind style) to help non-competitive organizations share their progress and lessons learned. If you would be interested in discussing either of these, please feel free to reach out: email@example.com
Our intention with holding the Marketing & Online Communities conference is to explore of the intersection of marketing and online communities. Marketing agencies and teams are playing a key role in the development of online communities, and more generally, in the use of social media. But, there are several key issues, including:
- Many marketing teams are still focused on quarterly-driven results and think in a campaign mentality, versus building long term relationships.
- Many community hosts are struggling with appropriate forms of marketing, and in developing appropriate engagement programs.
- Community members don’t want to feel manipulated or interrupted in their community experiences, and they want to have conversations, as opposed to being “talked at” by brands.
We chose our topic and speaker lineup to highlight healthy attitudes and best practices in building relationships with online communities.
Our session and breakout topics, and session leads will include:
- Designing for Conversation
Heather Gold, Subvert.com
- The Social Web: How Consumers and Brands are Connecting Online
Elisa Camahort Page – BlogHer
Kendra Bracken – Fleishman-Hillard
- Secrets of Successful Community Campaigns
Heather Lutrell – 3jane / indieclick
Belinda Lang – American Express
- Community Generated Media: Giving Customers a Voice and Companies Insight
David Rubinstein – ExpoTV
Michael Liefer – Swirl
- The Role of PR: “Public Relationships “
Brad B McCormick – Porter Novelli
- Moderating Your Brand
Mike Passcucci – Mzinga
- Brand Monitoring in A Web 2.0 World
Steve Broback – Parnassus Group
- Integrating Customer Communities in to the Marketing Mix
Peter Friedman, Moderator – LiveWorld
Again, if you would like to participate in the event, please register here: http://moc08.eventbrite.com .
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
The tag for the event is #moc2008
I’m posting my slides from the “Who Owns Community?” Webinar on Wednesday.
The community “owns” the community (of course)
The community team probably belongs in Marketing, but Marketing doesn’t deserve it yet.