I’m pleased to see that big defense is catching on to the crowd sourcing idea. Lockheed and General Dynamics (for its Edge Innovation Network) deserve some credit for taking the social plunge, but I can’t help but think there’s a missing ingredient to these defense cum innovation initiatives. The thing that these efforts seem to miss is that real innovation requires more than just harvesting fully formed solutions from the crowd and then putting these solutions to work. It requires identifying partially formed ideas that can be synthesized to create a viable solution. The magic of social is not about throwing a bunch of crap against a wall and seeing what sticks because at the end of the day the arbiters of innovation at Lockheed or General Dynamics or wherever are still responsible for deciding what makes the cut. The magic of social lies in creating ecosystems where the crowd can organize in unexpected ways to create, combine, filter, etc. the ideas that drive innovation.
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