Open Business Model Player InnoCentive Radically Expands Its Markets

21 09 2007

Months ago we showcased several posts on InnoCentive – a leading example of open innovation driven by an “open business model” was revolutionizing the world of chemistry. For those of you new to InnoCentive, it’s an online community of 120,000+ global researchers working with major companies like P&G to compete to produce research to advance product development and even find cures for diseases.

From yesterday’s Boston Globe:

InnoCentive Inc., a Web-based community that seeks to match a global network of problem solvers with research-and-development challenges, announced today a “major expansion beyond their traditional domains.”

The Andover company sees its traditional domains as life sciences and chemistry; now it says it wants to broaden its scope to include business and entrepreneurship, engineering and design, physical sciences, and mathematics and computer sciences.

InnoCentive’s business model is to help corporate and nonprofit clients solve R&D problems by posting descriptions of them on a website visited by thousands of researchers, scientists, engineers, and mathematicians from around the world; those who solve a problem can qualify for a financial reward.

Now InnoCentive’s intermediary market model is expanding dramatically into new markets and association executives better take note. Because you may be seeing a market play in your space that could crowd you out from your own members. Remember, we live in a hyper-participation economy where people can join communities and devote their time, expertise and money elsewhere more easily than ever.

Here’s what’s possibly at stake.

Say your members are engineers. Chances are you have the peer-review publishing part of your members’ professional value chain locked up long ago. But what about the part of the value chain prior to publishing papers? Do you offer any services where an engineer can actually practice their profession?

That’s what makes InnoCentive’s intermediary market model so fascinating and potentially scary. Given the recent discussion about for-profit and non-profit business models among association executives, instead of changing the whole association business model why not create a separate for-profit service business? Using an “open business model” you could create entirely new ways for your members to pursue their profession but within your own branded experience rather than a new player like an InnoCentive.

But for now, engineering, designers, computer and physical science folks are now fair game.

For more on InnoCentive and open business models:

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12 02 2008
McKinsey’s Business Trends to Watch « opensource.association

[…] to market faster by eliminating the bottlenecks that come with total control.os.a Examples: New businesses created around networks versus traditional management hierachyUsing consumers as innovatorsConsumers also co-create with companies… But the differences […]

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