#3 Collaborative Social Innovation: Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engagement

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This is the third report from our upcoming People's Insights Annual Report titled “Now & Next: Future of Engagement”, also available as a Kindle eBook and soon as an interactive iPad app. The report will highlight the ten most important frontiers that will define the future of engagement for marketers, entrepreneurs and changemakers: Crowdfunding, Behavior Change Games, Collaborative Social Innovation, Grassroots Change Movements, Co-creation Communities, Social Curation, Transmedia Storytelling, Collective Intelligence, Social Live Experiences and Collaborative Consumption.

In each of these reports, we start by describing why they are important, how they work, and how brands might benefit from them; we then examine web platforms and brand programs that point to the future (that is already here); then finish by identifying some of the most important features of that future, with our recommendations on how to benefit from them.

Do subscribe to our email newsletter to receive an invite to download a free copy of the interactive iPad app.

Find out more: http://peopleslab.mslgroup.com/peoplesinsights/future-of-engagement/
Get the Kindle eBook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D8ZZMDY

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#3 Collaborative Social Innovation: Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engagement

  1. 1. We are delighted to share that we will bepublishing the People’s Insights AnnualReport titled “Now & Next: Future ofEngagement” in January 2013 as an interactiveiPad app. The report will highlight the tenmost important frontiers that will definethe future of engagement for marketers,entrepreneurs and changemakers:Crowdfunding, Transmedia Storytelling,Social Curation, Behavior Change Games,Grassroots Change Movements, CollaborativeSocial Innovation, Crowdsourced ProductInnovation, Collective Intelligence, SocialRecommendation and Hybrid RealityExperiences.Throughout 2012, 100+ planners onMSLGROUP’s Insights Network have beentracking inspiring web platforms and brandprograms at the intersection of social data,citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling.Every week, we pick up one project andcurate the conversations around it — on theMSLGROUP Insights Network itself but alsoon the broader social web — into a weeklyinsights report. Every quarter, we compilethese insights, along with original researchand insights from the MSLGROUP globalnetwork, into the People’s Insights QuarterlyMagazine. Now, we have synthesized theinsights from our year-long endeavor in futurescanning as foresights into the future ofengagement.We believe, like William Gibson that, “thefuture is already here; it’s just not very evenlydistributed.” So, innovative web platformsin the areas of social data, citizenship,crowdsourcing and storytelling point towardsinteresting possibilities for brand programsthat leverage similar models to engagepeople. In turn, the web platforms and brandprograms of today give us clues to the futureof engagement tomorrow.In our reports on the ten frontiers that willdefine the future of engagement, we start bydescribing why they are important, how theywork, and how brands might benefit fromthem; we then examine web platforms andbrand programs that point to the future(that is already here); then finish by identifyingsome of the most important features of thatfuture, with our recommendations on how tobenefit from them.For the next ten weeks, we will publishthese reports one by one, then present themtogether, in context, as an interactive iPad app.Do subscribe to our email newsletter to receiveeach report and also an invite to download afree copy of the interactive iPad app.People’s Insights Annual Report
  2. 2. 3What is Collaborative SocialInnovation?Source: thinkpublic on FlickrOrganizations and peopleco-design innovative andsustainable solutions tocreate shared value.Click to watch: OpenIDEO by IDEOCollaborative social innovation initiatives involvebusinesses, governments, non-profits andchangemakers coming together to co-createinnovative and sustainable solutions around ashared purpose. Such initiatives typically focuson the areas that have the highest potential tocreate shared value: environment, energy andsustainability; health, wellness and nutrition;education, learning and capability building; andgovernance, public services and public spaces.Changemakers are typically rewarded withprize money, recognition, funding or support;organizations find solutions to importantchallenges; and society at large benefits fromthe innovative solutions.The rise of collaborative social innovation can beattributed to three broad trends. First, businesses,governments and non-profits are realizing theimportance of multi-stakeholder social innovationsolutions that create shared value, especiallyin the context of engaging Gen Ys. Second,organizations like the XPrize Foundation (video),which have a long history of creating “large-scale,high-profile, incentivized prize competitions” tosolve problems that are important for society, arelearning how to reach new groups of innovatorsfrom across the world, thanks to the internet.Third, networks like TED, PopTech, EchoingGreen (video), Ashoka (video) and StartingBloc(video) are connecting young changemakers andshowcasing their work, through conferences,challenges and fellowships, inspiring others tofollow in their footsteps.As a result, we are seeing a number of platformsfocusing on different aspects of collaborativesocial innovation.Open IDEO (video) by design and innovationconsultancy IDEO has partnered with businesses,governments, and non-profits to create a seriesof collaborative social innovation challenges.ChallengePost, MindMixer (video), AshokaChange makers (video) and One Billion Minds(video) are other third-party collaborativesocial innovation platforms which enableorganizations to create challenges for the public.ChallengePost focuses on open governmentchallenges and MindMixer encourages civicengagement, while Ashoka Change makers andOne Billion Minds feature a wide range of socialinnovation challenges. Other platforms, likeMIT Center for Collective Intelligence’s ClimateCoLab project, are focused on a single topic, likeclimate change.
  3. 3. Click to watch: Ashoka Change makersSource: grafixer on FlickrHow does Collaborative SocialInnovation work?Open government is another important areafor collaborative social innovation. In the US,Challenge.gov, which is built on ChallengePost, has created a series of open governmentchallenges for federal, state and local agencies,while Data.gov encourages developers to buildapplications using its public data sets andshowcases the best applications. In parallel,organizations like Sunlight Foundation (video)and Code for America (video) are helping createthe ecosystem to enable collaborative socialinnovation. In the UK, SparkCentral is a governmentcollaborative social innovation platform thataims to “build partnerships across the public,private and voluntary sectors to deliver more forless.” In Finland, Open Ministry is a legislationcrowdsourcing platform that enables Finnishcitizens to propose new laws to the parliament.Some of these collaborative social innovationplatforms have had significant impact. Forinstance, Ashoka Change makers has channeled$600 million in funding to more than 10,000social innovators, through more than 50challenges, with the help of more than 500,000community members.The success of collaborative social innovationinitiatives shows that organizations and peopleare capable of co-creating innovative solutions tocomplex problems, and has created a new modelCollaborative social innovation platforms aretypically a hybrid of three models: innovationchallenges, innovation ecosystems, and opendata platforms.Most online collaborative social innovationinitiatives follow a contest model in which anorganization posts a challenge on a platformand invites individuals, groups of individuals orother organizations to submit innovations. Theseinnovations can be at any stage of completion,ranging from ideas or sketches to full-blownbusiness proposals to products, services ortechnologies that already exist at a smaller scale.Some platforms include a structured designthinking approach with inspiration, concepting,evaluation and collaboration phases (OpenIDEO(video)), while others break up the challengeinto what, where and who elements (ClimateCoLab). Some platforms match communitymembers with challenges based on interest(ChallengePost) while other motivate communitymembers by using game mechanics like a designquotient score (OpenIDEO).for changemakers to showcase their innovations,for governments and foundations to findsolutions to societal issues and for businesses torealize sustainable growth.Like MIT’s Thomas W. Malone says:“We want to create more intelligentorganizations, more intelligent businesses,more intelligent governments, more intelligentsocieties. As all the people and computers on ourplanet get more and more closely connected, it’sbecoming increasingly useful to think of all thepeople and computers on the planet as a kind ofglobal brain.”
  4. 4. 5Click to watch: GE Ecomagination ChallengeOther social innovation challenges don’t havea direct impact on the company’s business,but do strengthen the company’s reputationby strengthening its association with socialinnovation. In many such initiatives, companiespartner with educational institutions or non-profitorganizations and target students and younginnovators. Dell Social Innovation Challenge(video), HP Social Innovation Relay (video), CitiInnovation Challenge (video), Sony Open PlanetIdeas (video#!), Toyota Ideas for Good (video),Samsung Solve for Tomorrow (video),Intel Innovators (video),Sygenta Thoughtfor Food Challenge (video, McKinsey SocialInnovation Video Contest (video) and Dell GoGreen Challenge (on MSLGROUP’s People’s Labcrowdsourcing platform) are good examples.Some companies commit to long-term socialinnovation challenge platforms, with theintention of creating an ecosystem to connectchangemakers and build capabilities. ForInnovations are judged either quantitativelyaccording to a set of scoring criteria orqualitatively by a panel of judges typically madeup of experts, specialists and members of thefunding committee. In some cases, communitymembers must vote on ideas to increase theirchances of appearing before the judges. Winninginnovators are rewarded with either cash prizes(ChallengePost, Ashoka Change makers (video))or with recognition and satisfaction that they havehelped contribute to social good (OpenIDEO,Open Ministry).Some of these innovation challenge platformsare designed primarily as destinationcommunities (OpenIDEO, One Billion Minds(video)), while others offer white label optionsto enable organizations to create their ownstandalone challenge platforms (ChallengePost,MindMixer (video)).For some platforms, like Ashoka Change makers,the innovation challenges are a small part of theoverall innovation ecosystem, which includescommunity, capability building and funding.For other platforms, like Data.gov, the innovationchallenges serve the purpose of connectinggovernment agencies who can share public datawith changemakers and developers who canbuild applications on top of this data to improvehow these agencies deliver public services.In essence, all collaborative social innovationplatforms are designed around four dynamics:connect, catalyze, crystallize, and celebrate.First, platforms need to connect stakeholdersso that they have a context to engage with theorganization and with each other. Then, platformsneed to catalyze interactions so that new ideasand projects can emerge organically. Next,platforms need to synthesize these ideas intosolutions that benefit from and build upon thebest ideas. Finally, platforms need to celebratethe most powerful or popular ideas, actions andstories by highlighting them.Collaborative Social Innovation for BrandsJust like third-party collaborative socialinnovation platforms, branded collaborativesocial innovation platforms are typically ahybrid of three models: innovation challenges,innovation ecosystems, and open data platforms.The most popular model for brands is innovationchallenges, or contests to crowdsource socialinnovation solutions. Several brands havelaunched social innovation challenges, bothas part of their citizenship strategy, to fund,inspire and connect social innovators (MahindraSpark the Rise (video), Dell Social InnovationChallenge (video)) and also as part of theirbusiness strategy, to co-create innovative andsustainable solutions that create shared value(GE Ecomagination Challenge (video), GEHealthymagination Challenge (video)).Social innovation challenges that are part of acompany’s business strategy usually benefitthe change-maker or innovator, the businessitself and society at large. In such programs, thebrand is usually looking to invest in or acquire theinnovation, or promote it by supporting it with itsbusiness scale. For instance, since the launchof the GE Ecomagination Challenge (video) tofind innovations in energy and sustainability, GEhas committed $134 million to 22 investmentsand commercial partnerships, granted $1.1million in seed funding to early stage companiesand entrepreneurs, and acquired one of thebusinesses that entered the challenge.
  5. 5. Collaborative Social Innovation CaseStudiesThroughout the year, we have tracked theconversations around a number of collaborativesocial innovation platforms and brandedprograms in our weekly insights reports andquarterly magazines; here are a few highlights.Web platform: Open MinistrySource: avoinministerio.fiIn March 2012, the Finland Citizens’ InitiativeAct went into effect, giving citizens the right topropose legislation to the Finnish Parliament,provided 50,000 citizens of voting age supportthe idea within six months. To facilitate this, agroup of non-profit entrepreneurs launched webplatform Open Ministry through which citizenscan propose and vote on new legislature online.Several banks and telecom providers havesupported this platform by providing free accessto their verification APIs.Journalist Susan Fourtané welcomed the move:“Today, companies are crowdsourcingeverything from designs of cars to marketingslogans. Why shouldn’t governments followsuit?”Indeed, people too are interested in collaboratingover legislature. Joonas Pekkanen, founder ofOpen Ministry, wrote:“Citizens have begun to call for a more open,transparent and participatory western democracyin place of the old rigid system.”instance, both Mahindra Spark the Rise (video)and Pepsi Refresh Project (video) ran for twoyears and created significant impact. We havecovered both these initiatives in ourFuture of Engagement report on Crowdfundingas examples of crowdfunding programs focusedon creators.Anand Mahindra, Chairman and ManagingDirector of Mahindra Group, talked about the roleof such initiatives:“The way companies build brands has evolved.In version 2.0, we saw companies come in witha larger purpose and meaning, beyond thebusiness. Now, we are trying to build a 21stcentury corporation, by energizing people andgiving them a core purpose to be part of.”Some of these social innovation ecosystemstake the shape of public-private partnershipsthat bring together stakeholders from business,government, academia and civil society toinstitutionalize social innovation. For instance,Walmart has created 14 Sustainable ValueNetworks since 2005 to bring together diversestakeholders to develop solutions to fulfillWalmart’s commitment towards renewableenergy, zero waste and sustainable products. IBMlaunched the Smarter Cities Challenge (video) tocollaborate with local governments and co-fundtechnology-based solutions to city-specific urbanchallenges. HP launched the Catalyst Initiative(video) to collaborate with educators in findinginnovative solutions to enhance student literacyin STEM subjects.In other collaborative social innovationinitiatives, companies create open networksto share intellectual property and know-how, and encourage stakeholders to buildupon it. As an example, to realize its vision ofsustainable “considered design”, Nike createdthe GreenXchange (video) in 2009 as an openplatform for companies and people to sharegreen intellectual property, processes and ideas.Michael Dell, CEO and Chairman of Dell, sumsup the opportunity this positive multi-stakeholderapproach opens up for all of us:“The new engine of innovation driven bycollaboration, openness, stewardship andthe power of the social web gives all of us anopportunity to drive even more rapid,meaningful change across global institutions.”
  6. 6. 7Click to watch: Intel InnovatorsIn early 2012, Intel gave $300,000 to youthinnovators who presented ideas on how theywould change the world through technology, aspart of the Intel Innovators contest.The contest helped youth innovators gainattention not only from the industry, but alsofrom their close and extended networks. PascalWagner, a participant in the contest, reflected onhow the experience led him to reach out to hisextended network for support and become morevocal about his project:“While walking around my college campus,I had over 20 different people stop me asking meabout Wordio and the competition – most ofthem had not known that I was working on thisproject for the last four months.”A unique aspect of Intel Innovators is the useof gamification to involve people who weren’tparticipating directly in the contest. RooshabhDoshi, member of the MSLGROUP’s InsightsNetwork, noted:“Making fans who invest the most amount ofsocial capital on participants, ‘Top Fans’ andallowing them to be a part of ‘The Battleground’to award an idea $50,000, gives them animmense feeling of belonging at the end of theday… It’s a win-win for fans as well asparticipants at the end of the day.”Intel Innovators was a part of Intel “Innovatorsof Tomorrow” branding campaign anddemonstrated the commitment of thecompany to fostering innovation among youngentrepreneurs. Noah Kerner, CEO of Noise, theagency behind the campaign, said:“[Start ups] can raise money from funds likeGE’s 200MM Ecoimagination Challenge orprograms like Intel Innovators, which we createdin part to give young entrepreneurs access tofunding that they might not otherwise have. Inthe future, there will be an increasing number ofopportunities like this so young entrepreneurscan get more creative about how they raisemoney and smarter about how much equitythey give up.”David Meyer, a writer at GigaOm.com, attributedthe success of the initiative to Finland’s culture ofopenness and history of collaboration betweencitizens and the government, and noted theglobal significance of the Open Ministry project:“Nordic countries tend to have relatively closesocieties where people are enthusiastic aboutpitching into civic life… Tech-driven democracyfans in other countries may not find theenvironment as conducive to crowdsourcedlegislation right now, but on the other hand theyjust got themselves a model to study.”In October 2012, the first citizen-proposed law, aban on fur farming, entered Parliament with thesupport of 55,000 citizens.Branded program: Intel InnovatorsRead the full case study on our blog or onSlideshare
  7. 7. Source: dellchallenge.orgSource: sparktherise.comClick to watch: Dell Social Innovation ChallengeSince 2007, the Dell Social Innovation Challengehas inspired 15,000 students from 105 countriesto share 4,500 proposals to tackle the world’sproblems and has empowered them with accessto peers, mentors and faculty members and$450,000 in funding. Dell has also committedto investing a further $5 million to engage morestudents every year.The Dell Social Innovation Challenge has actedas an incubator for several promising start ups,and has helped entrepreneurs boost their skills,networks and marketability. Katherine Bascom,who was part of the 2010 winning teamShining Hope for Communities, said:“Since we’ve won [the challenge], we’ve raised$1.2 million from funders like Echo in Green,Newman’s Own Foundation and several othersmall family foundations. We’ve been featuredin New York Times, Vogue Magazine and FastCompany and other media outlets.”Suzi Sosa, a Dell employee and contributor toForbes BrandVoice highlighted the importanceand rise of ‘systems innovations’, a trendemerging in the social entrepreneurship industryas well as in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge:“Though not always as simple or sexy asproduct innovations, systems innovations arecritical for our planet. The world’s most urgentproblems remain unsolved because they are tiedto broken systems that no single product canremedy.”“The winners of this year’s Dell Social InnovationChallenge created two systems innovationsthat not only have the potential to impact thelives of millions, but also reflect an importantand exciting trend for social entrepreneurshipworldwide.”The Dell Social Innovation Challenge communityhas 230,000 members. Nearly 500 employeeshave participated in challenge as mentors orjudges.Branded program: Mahindra Spark theRiseRead the full case study on our blog or onSlideshareBranded program: Dell Social InnovationChallengeRead the full case study on our blog or onSlideshare
  8. 8. 9Click to watch: Mahindra Spark the Riseare focused on social innovation and civicengagement.Mature organizations will need to go beyondplatforms and commit to long-term public-private partnerships that create strong multi-stakeholder ecosystems to scale both theengagement in such initiatives and the impact ofthe innovations that result from them(Dell Social Innovation Challenge (video), IBMSmarter Cities Solutions).Specifically, we expect educational institutions tobecome more proactive in both partnering withother organizations to co-create collaborativesocial innovation initiatives targeted at students,and find innovative ways to bring such initiativesinto the classroom (OpenIDEO University Toolkit,Samsung Solve for Tomorrow (video)).Even as more corporations create branding-driven collaborative social innovation challenges,we expect more Fortune 500 firms to followGE’s example and create challenges which havea direct business impact, by investing in thewinning innovations, or using their business cloutto scale them.As open government data and applicationprogramming interfaces (APIs) become thatnorm, we expect many more governmentsto open up civic data and invite developersto build applications on top of them. We alsoexpect some non-profits and corporations toexperiment with this model and share data orintellectual property in an open network so thatthird party developers can build social innovationapplications on them.In a TED Talk, former U.S. Deputy ChiefTechnology Officer Beth Noveck said:“If we want to see the hopeful, exciting kindsof innovations in clean energy and education anddevelopment, if we want to see those adoptedand scaled, we must all participate. Open upinstitutions and let the nutrients flow throughoutour culture to create open institutions, astronger democracy, a better tomorrow.”Finally, as organizations become better atdesigning and measuring collaborative socialinnovation initiatives, we will see them investingheavily to replicate pilot innovations acrossmarkets and scale their impact(Walmart Sustainable Value Networks).In 2012 and 2013, Mahindra Group is giving grantsof $1 million to 96 ideas and projects that candrive positive change in India under its Spark theRise program. Mahindra also connects changemakers with each other and mentors, to helpcreate an ecosystem for social innovationin India.The program is a demonstration of MahindraGroup’s commitment to its corporate philosophy‘Rise.’ Ad veteran Ramesh Narayan commented:“Mahindra is making a statement it iscommitted to helping India, and backing it withaction. [Spark the Rise] is an eloquent statementof its positioning, unlike a mere advertisingcampaign that says the company is committedto some cause or the other.”Former ad-man Lakshmipathy Bhat noted theneed for companies to embrace purpose-drivencampaigns like Spark the Rise:“Consumers are a lot more wary of advertisingclaims. They also have access to information onthe internet which allow them to form a consideredopinion about a brand and not just depend onwhat the advertising says. So in a way, companiescan be ‘caught out’ if they were to merely pay lipservice to a claim… In this context, the MahindraGroup initiative, Rise is commendable.”The Future of Collaborative SocialInnovationIn the near future, we expect collaborativesocial innovation to become the norm both forcorporations creating innovations that createshared value and governments and changemakersdesigning solutions for social good.Even as white label open innovation platformslike BrightIdea and People’s Lab mature,we will see more specialized platforms likeChallengePost and MindMixer (video), which
  9. 9. Learn more about us at:peopleslab.mslgroup.com | twitter.com/peopleslabPeople’s Lab is MSLGROUP’s proprietarycrowdsourcing platform and approach thathelps organizations tap into people’s insights forinnovation, storytelling and change.The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platformhelps organizations build and nurture publicor private, web or mobile, hosted or whitelabel communities around four pre-configuredapplication areas: Expertise Request Network,Innovation Challenge Network, Research &Insights Network and Contest & ActivationNetwork. Our community and gaming featuresencourage people to share rich content, vote/comment on other people’s content andcollaborate to find innovative solutions.The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platformand approach forms the core of our distinctiveinsights and foresight approach, which consistsof four elements: organic conversation analysis,MSLGROUP’s own insight communities, client-specific insights communities, and ethnographicdeep dives into these communities. The People’sInsights Quarterly Magazines showcase ourcapability in crowdsourcing and analyzinginsights from conversations and communities.People’s Lab:CrowdsourcingInnovation & Insights
  10. 10. Write to us to start a conversation on the future of engagement.:Pascal Beucler,SVP & Chief Strategy Officer(pascal.beucler@mslgroup.com)Janelle Dixon,North America Head of Insights(janelle.dixon@mslgroup.com)Dominic Payling,Europe Head of Insights(dominic.payling@mslgroup.com)Gaurav Mishra,Asia Head of Insights(gaurav.mishra@mslgroup.com)mslgroup.com | twitter.com/msl_groupMSLGROUP is Publicis Groupes strategiccommunications and engagement group,advisors in all aspects of communicationstrategy: from consumer PR to financialcommunications, from public affairs toreputation management and from crisiscommunications to event management.With more than 3,700 people, its offices span22 countries. Adding affiliates and partnersinto the equation, MSLGROUPs reachincreases to 4,000 employees in 83 countries.Today the largest PR and Engagementnetwork in Europe, Greater China and India, thegroup offers strategic planning and counsel,insight-guided thinking and big, compellingideas – followed by thorough execution.

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