Monday, March 3, 2008

Innovation and the Social Web

There are a number of ways a business can leverage the benefits of social networking and other open collaboration websites to assist in product innovation. When you think of the incredible community of people willing to express their opinions for free that the web makes available, you now have the largest virtual test market for new ideas ever seen. Also, you can leverage the knowledge of engineers and scientists depending on which open community you tap.

Corporations should be making a large investment of time in developing relationships within these different communities as best suits their needs. By building up their "street credit" within these organizations they will grow a strong base of support for new products. Think of the hype Apple managed to build for the iPhone largely through the clever use of the internet. Consider the huge fundraising advantage won by presidential primary candidate Barack Obama, again all through judicious and intelligent use of available internet resources.

Those companies best able to make the transition away from traditionally secretive and closed development cycles towards more open and community-based development will reap the largest rewards. They will benefit from the accumulated wisdom of the masses and get a better understanding for what features and designs will best meet the needs and desires of their target consumer base.


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