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Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
791 1131 Words (4 Pages) Karim R. Lakhani Harvard Business School : 608170
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InnoCentive was established in Massachusetts, USA, with a concept of rewarding innovative ideas through an electronic platform. Eli Lilly used this idea to collect a group of professional scientists to brainstorm innovative and creative solutions to emerging problems of the world. There are a number of problems/challenges posted on the website; professionals are expected to solve it for the promised financial reward. Three types of challenges can be found on the website, brainstorm, premium and grand challenges. Thus, professional problem solvers are attracted towards this interactive platform to earn rewards and recognition. Innocentive is not only a platform of global solver network but also a perfect place for research and development solution seekers. Seekers are attracted towards a vast poll of problem solvers brainstorming on a number of topics related to the real time issues. It also helps seeker companies to manage their budget for R&D solutions as they are able to find a perfect problem solver in return of a good remuneration. Challenges are posted by corporate and nonprofit organizations, and the reward is based on the nature of problem. Challenges can range from business to information technology. They can be related to biology and chemistry, depending upon the requirement of solution seeker.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. Why would firms use InnoCentive’s service to solve scientific and technical problems?

  2.  What are the drawbacks in choosing a market or a community for problem solving?

  3.  How would you improve Innocentive Business model?

InnoCentive com A Case Analysis

Innovation is vital for the growth and progress of any company in this point of high competition. Innovative solutions can provide competitive advantage, it can get the nonprofit organizations recognized, and can help nongovernmental institutions work at an optimum level. Research and development has never been important to the extent at which it is at this point of time. InnoCentive has provided a platform for solution seekers and problem solvers to assist interaction between them. Internet is an easy way of communication which is effectively used through this idea. Seekers can have the ease of finding solutions to their problems through the mode of internet. The physical way of communicating and meeting has become costly and inefficient in the market environment where time and proper communication are extremely important. Hence, there is a strong need of an innovative platform which could benefit the whole society. Firms would use the services of InnoCentive due to the

  1. ease of interaction,

  2. efficient communication,

  3. highly qualified professional problem solvers,

  4. optimum solution at low budget,

  5. research and development solutions for future operations,

  6. option of finding the right problem solver from a vast pool of professionals

What are the drawbacks in choosing a market or a community for problem solving?

Problem solving is a complex and vital skill in the present institutional environment. Professionals are trained to use their cognitive abilities and knowledge in order to find the best solution for the prevailing unsolved problems. Market has a number of organizations and institutions which are in need of solutions to their problems regarding a number of areas such as pharmaceutical, information technology, business, industry, chemistry and biology. Every organization faces a number of problems, be it government, nonprofit or innovative corporations.  Thus the importance of problem solving can never be underestimated, resulting in the increased demand of professional problem solvers. However, when the focus is just one group of community, it becomes difficult for the company to entertain every problem. Innocentive’s business can be reduced if it limits the number of problem solvers and focuses on only a single group or community. If only the pharmaceutical researchers are entertained on the platform, then the problem seekers from business or IT background will not be able to find their required problem solver on the website.

There are a number of drawbacks in choosing a single market or community in the selection of problem solvers. Innocentive has a wide range of problem solvers currently including scientists, biochemists, information technologists, collegians and postgraduate students, independent researchers, inventors, and a number of professional people having solutions to the prevailing problems. The choice of market or community is based upon the need for that particular market in the industry. The more demanding an industry is, the more problem solvers are there for service. Hence, if the company chooses a single community, it can face

  1. Limited number of problem solvers

  2. Limited number of solution seekers,

  3. Limited user base

  4. Less revenue of the company

  5. Limited solutions available for the society

How would you improve Innocentive Business model?

InnoCentive is a unique concept, and has become very successful over time. It focuses on research and development in various fields. Services not only benefit the corporations or nonprofit organizations, but also benefit the entire society as whole. Innocentive business revenue model is based upon its problem solvers subscription fee, and problem seekers fee for a particular solution. However, it can be improved by focusing on different aspects and improvising every aspect step by step. We can divide the complete business model of the company into three parts; growth of customers, profitability growth and business development. Innocentive can increase the number of its users and customers by increasing advertisement on multiple modes of communication.

Successful advertisement campaigns can be initiated through internet, television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Universities and scientific labs can be invited to form a partnership with the company in order to increase the user base of the website. Social media can prove to play an important role in the expansion of customer base, and the company can use Facebook, Linked in, Twitter and Google blogger to benefit from the popularity of each of the social media website. Advertisement can help the company to increase awareness among organizations that there is a platform for their problems to be solved. Many of intelligent problem solvers are working as a regular employer or independent researchers; they could be made aware of another earning option.

Innocentive can increase it s revenue by increasing the subscription fee and seeker fee time to time. Fee increase should be nominal to avoid competitors getting in the way.  It can offer the website to advertisers and promote other websites to increase overall profitability. It can also offer affiliation program and charge affiliation fee. Loyalty program can also be initiated in order to increase the revenue of the company.

Innocentive has to work for a long term business model based upon every aspect discussed as above.

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