Rake Narang: Are certain industries placing larger focus on innovation than others? What are the most important aspects to ensuring social innovation will resonate within an organization?
Paul Pluschkell: Everyone says that innovation is core to their future success. The reality is not every company is ready or willing to make the changes they need to put innovation at front and center of how they’re going to create strategic competitive advantage. That seems to be true for most industries: there are some companies that just seem better than others at making innovation work.
Having said that, I think you can say that companies which operate in highly commoditized markets, consumer packaged goods, pharma, and banking, for example, have begun to demonstrate they can really pull away from their competitors using social innovation tools. They’re the ones who understood first that crowds can help them in a way that their old-paradigm research and development functions couldn’t. Our observation is that most other industries have begun to follow their lead now that results are coming in. Not only does social innovation encourage engagement at scale it also gives the employees a sense of purpose which increases productivity.
Making social innovation resonate in an organization is a cultural and strategic matter more than anything else. Firstly, management has to be willing to trust their employees and customers. Then, they have to give them permission to innovate. Finally, they have to want to use the results that come back, even if they’re a little bit different from what they expected. The greatest innovation driven companies in the world have already worked this out and they’re the ones winning in the market.
Rake Narang: Describe the value proposition of Spigit? How do you differentiate yourselves from the rest of the market?
Paul Pluschkell: Spigit was the first company to recognize that crowds of employees and customers have a value beyond an open suggestion box. We were the ones that pioneered game mechanics to motivate crowds to create useful business outcomes. We were also the first to explore how you use reputation management and other psychological mechanisms to ensure crowds are directed appropriately and don’t turn into mobs. We’ve continued to pioneer these methods of making social innovation something that works.
But what makes Spigit really unique is we’re helping companies break out of old-paradigm thinking about innovation. We’re taking all those old stage gate processes and helping them scale out by adding all those available eyes and hands at the edge. We’re letting companies go from innovation pipelines of tens of ideas to thousands. In the end, we’re about making innovation distributed and social and scalable; and dare I say fun. Most other vendors are concentrating on pulling innovation back into the core and reestablishing traditional command and control.
In short Spigit is the company that activates your crowd.