Wednesday, February 21, 2007

InnoCentive Co-Founder at Sloan

Yesterday the Co-Founder of InnoCentive, Alpheus Bingham, spoke to students in Tom Malone's Organizational Design class. The class focuses on innovative organizational designs and the future of work. InnoCentive is one of the companies demonstrating innovative organizational structures. The company was founded as a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and later spun off. They post scientific challenges in the areas of biology and chemistry and reward solvers with compensation between $10,000 and $100,000. They have posted roughly 400 - 500 challenges and over 25% have been solved.

InnoCentive is particularly interesting because it demonstrates a potential structure for the future of the knowledge economy. By outsourcing these problems companies have the ability to reduce the risk/expense associated with R&D. In addition, the InnoCentive network harnesses the power of the masses to tackle problems that have been unsolvable. InnoCentive will not replace R&D in organizations; however, it can reduce the expenditure on in house knowledge workers. As companies become more comfortable using this type of service we will hopefully see an increased rate of scientific breakthroughs at a reduced cost. Given their current success, the company is planning on expanding into other technical areas.

No comments: