Project Red Stripe and other Ideastorms

via Slashdot:

All of traditional media is scrambling to remain relevant on the Net, but The Economist of London is taking it to extremes, with a skunkworks operation called Project Red Stripe. The magazine gathered six staffers from around the world, set them up in a London office, and gave them six months to come up with a radically new idea for the business. As a magazine for free markets, they figured others would have the best ideas — so are throwing open the doors for community input.

Project Red Stripe is another piece in this open innovation play, where companies are seeking to gather input from external stakeholders. Not only are customers invited to design and develop products (customers as co-creators), their input is solicited also for business model innovation, i.e. in this case primarily process innovations.

This triggered me into putting together some notes on Dells Ideastorm, an initiative I wanted to write about before, but never got to. Dell also seeks input from users, not only current Dell customers, on everything from product design to marketing to technical support, i.e. organizational processes.

Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams write in BusinessWeek

Launched on Feb. 16, Dell’s IdeaStorm looks and feels a lot like, the popular tech news aggregator: Users post suggestions and the community votes, so that the most popular ideas rise to the top.


Initiatives like IdeaStorm are a starting point. […] In the new model, customers participate in the creation of products in an active and ongoing way. They do more than customize or personalize; they add value throughout the product life cycle, from ideation and design through aftermarket opportunities.

[…] most companies consider the innovation and amateur creativity that takes place in user communities a fringe phenomenon of little relevance to their core markets. Firms often resist or ignore customer innovations, and even when such innovations look promising, most corporate processes are too rigidly adapted to the manufacturer-centric paradigm to make use of them.

There’s been a lot of discussion on the lack of compensation for users, who after all are leveraging their creativity for free (and for a commercial venture). I would argue that basically people like to being asked for their opinion, they want to appear smart and they want to make a difference. Yet, this must be expanded by perks and a “share in profits” to work long-time, i.e. it must be profitable to participate.

  1. […] have showed more diplomacy here: There’s been a lot of discussion on the lack of compensation for users, who after all are […]