Five Ways Businesses Can Innovate Like the Big Guys - Slide 3

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Some of the best ideas come from the most unlikely places. Cast a wide net and welcome all participants; keep in mind that Thomas Edison once worked selling newspapers to train passengers. Pose your problem to anyone who will listen, not just the people you think will be your solvers.

The pace of business today requires creativity, new ideas and new product innovations on an almost on-demand basis. Small and medium enterprises are often constrained by limited resources and struggle to quickly and affordably identify new market opportunities, solve business and technical problems and access partners and talent.

To solve this problem, a growing number of small and medium-sized companies are turning to open innovation and crowdsourcing as a way of leveling the playing field with large, global corporations boasting extensive in-house marketing, R&D and business development departments, without increasing fixed costs. 

Open innovation is accelerating lean, startup ventures and kick-starting more established small and medium enterprises by distributing work to a large network of problem solvers, allowing them to pay only for success. Investing only in solutions is a highly efficient way to run a business and make limited budgets last longer and go further. Open innovation enables small and medium businesses to focus on their core capabilities while allowing them to find solutions to their biggest problems and bring products to market faster and more cost-effectively.

Recognizing the opportunities that open innovation presents, this slideshow features tips, identified by Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive, to help you take advantage of open innovation in 2012.

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