Section 5: Managing Outside Innovation

Section 5: Managing Outside Innovation

“Introduction … Crowd-sourcing software … Managing open source innovation … Managing outside innovation”
(Source URL)


  • Managing Outside Innovation > Crowd-sourcing software > Crowdsourcing
  • Managing Outside Innovation > Managing open source innovation > Open source software
  • Managing Outside Innovation > Managing outside innovation > Managing outside innovation

Managing Outside Innovation > Crowd-sourcing software > Crowdsourcing

  • The word crowdsourcing refers to collecting information, objects, money, or resources from a large number of people using digital media.
  • The famous Hortus Malabaricus was first published in 1693, and it was entirely crowdsourced.
  • One of the key questions many people ask is why crowds agree to make contributions.
  • Why do so many people, largely unknown to each other, come together on these online platforms to contribute to a common cause? Many people have an intrinsic motivation to connect and work with a large community.
  • To work with people and to contribute for a common purpose.
  • It is the same urge that drives people to join social networking sites …and share their experiences, videos, photos and stories.
  • People who would otherwise have spent time watching TV or movies… …will use the time to make contributions on Zomato or Wikipedia or Facebook.
  • When you have a specific problem or project for which you want to invite the crowds to participate… …two important properties are needed: modularity and granularity.
  • Modularity means that the project can be broken into components that different people can work on and then the pieces can be put together.
  • Crowdsourcing works well if you have a project that can be broken into many pieces… …it is modular, and has low granularity, it takes less effort to make each piece.
  • The parts have low granularity so different people can work on them independently.
  • A novel can be broken into chapters but it is very hard to then distribute the chapters out to different people, as it will be hard to maintain consistency.
  • A novel, thus, has low modularity and cannot be easily crowdsourced.

Managing Outside Innovation > Managing open source innovation > Open source software

  • MIT scientist Richard Stallman first came up with the idea of a software licence that allows people who write software… …to freely distribute it to others and make sure that it stays “free” in this manner.
  • Stallman created a licence called the Gnu Public License or GPL. When software is created and released under the GPL licence… …it allows anyone to use the software, see the source code used to make the software… …make changes to the source code and also share and distribute the modified software.
  • A proprietary software carries a proprietary licence that allows users to run only the binary version of the software… …the source code is not visible, and what is more, the source cannot be modified and certainly cannot be shared with others.
  • The main difference is that where proprietary software restricts usage and distribution… …to only those who have paid for the licence, free software lets anyone use the software and distribute it also.
  • Hundreds of software enthusiasts joined Linus and the software we know as Linux was created.
  • Open source is like free software, where people are free to use, modify and distribute the software.
  • In the initial days, it was mostly researchers, students and hobbyists who were making free software and releasing it on the Internet.

Managing Outside Innovation > Managing outside innovation > Managing outside innovation

  • When organisations and firms seek innovative ideas outside of their own firm boundaries, it is known as outside innovation.
  • Firms typically had research and development departments where ideas were germinated and products were designed.
  • Guru: You ask people to write poetry, and they will.
  • Prof: Okay determining and controlling for quality is a challenge for crowdsourcing.
  • This site poses tough problems on its site and invites anyone to submit solutions.
  • The problem of quality is also solved by Wikipedia or Linux by having a lot of people review and critique the text or software.
  • A challenge for organisations that seek innovative ideas and solutions from outside is how to manage this innovation process.
  • 1) What kind or type of innovations can be set up for external innovators? 2) What will motivate external innovators? 3) How can a platform be designed that allows such innovators to work on problems? When the product or solution for which innovation is being sought is relatively unresearched… …or it is not known how to find the solution, using the crowdsourcing approach is best.
  • When a problem is relatively well known, and a solution method is also known… …and it is just a question of finding the answer, internal research is best.
  • Of course, crowdsourcing works best when knowledge com-accumulation is enabled… …where communities contribute their own understanding and help others contribute also.
  • Crowdsourcing seems to attract people with two types of motivations: extrinsic and intrinsic.
  • Intrinsic motivation refers to the individual satisfaction that people gain from working on hard problems.
  • App developers make apps available on the Google Play platform.
  • So a firm like Zomato can list their app on Google’s platform.
  • Google gains because it has crowdsourced millions of apps for its site.

Return to Summaries

(image source)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *