Innovation News
Innovation News

Better living through Collaborative Innovation


Category: Innovation News

Organizations big and small have begun to explore the practice of collaborative innovation as a way to increase engagement and to foment a culture of innovation. Let’s say you work for such an organization. What’s the quid pro quo when you find yourself part of the crowd from which wisdom is sought? In this article innovation architect Doug Collins wrestles with questions that you may want to ask the practice sponsors and yourself.

People who practice collaborative innovation speak in terms of “fomenting a culture of innovation.”

They set their sights higher. They move from the practicalities of soliciting a couple ideas by way of identifying the low-hanging fruit of incremental change to a more visionary interest in pursuing the practice as a way to transform the organization. They begin to see low-hanging fruit as an expression of intellectual and soulful laziness: do not make me reach too far for that which sustains me.

Transformation as the larger, abiding end game tends to come as a way to prepare the organization and themselves to thrive in the relentless, shifting currents of the Digital Age which sculpt all shores.

I spend most my time with sponsors—people who, through designation of authority, introduce the practice to their organization and invite people to engage. What of the hundreds to thousands of people who receive the sponsor’s invitation? What might they consider, relative to making this new culture of innovation their own?

Understand the Quid Pro Quo

As I work with the people who invite the organization to engage in collaborative innovation, I speak in terms of the three C’s: the critical question, the community, and the commitment. The commitment conversation explores the quid pro quo between the challenge team and the community they plan to invite to engage on the critical question.

As a member of the organization in question, you receive an invitation to convene on the critical question. The challenge team hopes, or expects, that you spend a certain amount of time and intellectual capital responding to the question with your ideas. What do you expect in return?

To start, you should expect the challenge team to answer the following two questions


By Doug Collins on

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