Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing


Fellowforce – An ‘Innovation Intermediary’

Mikko Ahonen, who runs the Beyond Creativity blog on open innovation, creativity and technology, has posted an interesting evaluation, of Fellowforce, a service that acts as an intermediary between companies and individual innovators or problem solvers. FellowForce logo

Fellowforce is a collaboration between Building Better Business, a Dutch organisation that promotes entrepreneurship and a related business called Partners In Perspective, along with Generation Europe, a Belgium based youth-oriented market research company.

On Fellowforce, new users create a profile where they specify their areas of expertise and their industry background. Following this stage, the user can see the “My Challenge Alerts” page where one can respond to advertised ‘challenges’. Users can also select a company from a list and propose an innovation of their own.

Mikko Ahonen notes that, while the Fellowforce interface is easy to use for individual users have no facility to communicate with each other. He also notes that the site itself is somewhat over-reliant on email for communication with members – the site has few characteristics of a social network. However, he compares the Fellowforce site favourably with that of Ideawicket, another innovation intermediary site.

His closing comment is very valid:

“The challenge of Fellowforce is to get enough ‘solvers’ and ‘seekers’. Let’s see.”

The absence of social networking on sites like Fellowforce may be an impediment to growth. At this point in time, the absence of social networking functionality that allows members to interact with each other is an essential component of any site hoping to generate ‘momentum’. The most successful sites are those that grow in popularity virally, by members interacting with each other and spreading the word of their positive experience to non-members. Particularly in the area of innovation, the facility to interact with others and exchange views and ideas is an essential ingredient for success. Most innovations are the product of collaboration – relatively few are the result of the ‘lone wolf’ working late at night alone in a workshop or at a desk. The first innovation intermediary that designs itself to reflect this reality will be much more likely to achieve widespread acceptance and commercial success.

Share this item on these services:
  • del.icio.us
  • digg
  • Furl
  • NewsVine
  • RawSugar
  • YahooMyWeb

3 Responses to “Fellowforce – An ‘Innovation Intermediary’”

  1. Julia Styles Says:

    “At this point in time, the absence of social networking functionality that allows members to interact with each other is an essential component of any site hoping to generate ‘momentum’. The most successful sites are those that grow in popularity virally, by members interacting with each other and spreading the word of their positive experience to non-members.”

    http://www.BrainReactions.net is a social networking site for brainstorming. This site runs on Ruby on Rails and is similar to Digg. It also is gaining numbers, about 600 so far. there is an ability to interact with other members and even create private brainstorming rooms. It might be more effective when you actually physically know the people you are brainstorming with, like you know your friends on facebook, but can also lead to successful open brainstorms with people you have never met or worked with.

  2. Ruben Robert Says:

    “I fully agree on having a community functionality as one of the preconditions to generate Fellowforce’s momentum. Thats why we will launch the upcoming weeks/months various features with the objective to support collaborative (inter)action (rating, voting, and open/closed challenges).”

    Currently we are developing our flagship iLAb (i.e InnovationLab, a sort of virtual plant floor where organizations can ‘open’ their ‘own global OPEN innovation department’). Its my promise that Fellowforce, as we say in our mission statement, make open innovation and collaborative development a possibility and opportunity for ANY organization worldwide…

    We will keep you informed on all developments. Look out for our ‘innovate us’ widget announcement on the 22nd of August.

    Erick Schonfeld, The.Next.Net said it as such; “And in a few days, the company plans to release an “Innovation Box”—essentially a widget that companies can place on their own Websites or blogs to solicit suggestions from customers, vendors, or whoever. It’s a Suggestion Box 2.0 (with the suggestions being digital and coming from outside the organization).”

    click here for his full article; http://blogs.business2.com/business2blog/2007/08/startup-watch-f.html

    best regards, Ruben Robert — founder Fellowforce.com

  3. Donal Reddington Says:

    Ruben,

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m very pleased to hear that you are expanding the functionality of Fellowforce in this way. iLab and the Innovation Widget would seem to be exactly the type of developments that will create the type of ‘online social capital’ that are a characteristic of successful networks.

    Donal

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.