Case Studies


InnoCentive is the global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems to the world’s smartest people who compete to provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific and technical challenges.

Its global network of millions of problem-solvers, proven challenge methodology and cloud-based technology combine to help clients transform their economics of innovation through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programmes.

Since 2001, InnoCentive has been making a profound impact on the world:

  • total registered solvers: more than 270,000 from nearly 200 countries
  • total solver reach: 12+ million through their strategic partners (e.g. Nature Publishing Group, Popular Science, and The Economist)
  • total challenges posted: 1,500+ external challenges and hundreds of internal challenges (employee-facing)
  • project rooms opened to date: 450,000+
  • total solution submissions: 34,000+
  • total awards given: 1,300+
  • total award dollars posted: $37+ million
  • range of awards: $500 to $1+ million based on the complexity of the problem and nature of the challenge
  • average award rate: 57 per cent.

InnoCentive adopts the electronic marketplace business model. Through its open innovation marketplace, InnoCentive seeks to match a global network of solvers with R&D challenges faced by a number of seeker organizations.

Seekers post challenges, along with the associated financial award, by paying InnoCentive a fee of $35,000 and are allowed to post challenges anonymously to avoid competition-related issues. Solvers can view the challenges and submit solutions to any challenge without being charged anything. If the seeker is satisfied with the workability of the solution to a challenge provided by a solver, then the seeker provides this solver with the pre-specified award in exchange for the acquisition to the intellectual property (IP) rights to the winning solution. The seeker also pays InnoCentive a commission on the amount awarded. InnoCentive ensures IP protection for both seekers and solvers and facilitates the transfer of IP rights from the solver to the seeker.

The value proposition that the business model offers is twofold:

  • First, InnoCentive allows seeker organizations to reduce their R&D budget by tapping into the wisdom and innovative capacity of a network of more than 200,000 solvers in order to find solutions to their difficult problems (challenges).
  • Second, InnoCentive gives solvers the opportunity to focus on a range of challenging problems that are of interest with the hope of receiving a financial reward.

Source: author


Q1. Which characteristics of an ‘open system model’ does InnoCentive demonstrate?

Q2. How does InnoCentive deliver value to its customers?

Q3. What do you think about crowdsourcing?

Q4. Why does the company have to post its problems on a blog?

Q5. How do you define the relationship between the organization and its network?

Egg 2.0

Egg 2.0 is a communication and research laboratory developed from an idea of Guido Avigdor, Giorgio Risi and Pietro Dotti in 2009. This is a group of young talents who express their expertise in every area of communication, including editorial art direction, video-making and various digital activities, the pursuit of new trends, the organization of events, innovations in the app market, and social marketing.

Every year since 2009, a contest is launched – in Italian universities, on the Web and in social networks – with the aim of selecting the best talent. Participants are given a theme which they have to develop using the kind of media they believe will be the most suitable to express their talent. The members and employees of Egg 2.0 and the Eggers in their last year will preselect the works taking part in the contest, which will then be judged by a quality jury made up of different members every year. The jury can consist of people who have start-ups, newspaper editors, film directors, musicians, advertisers, university professors, and so on.

Egg 2.0 is a limited company that subsists thanks to its own work in the market: it has never received any government funds.

Its main activity is to study cross-media and non-conventional communication campaigns including Web 2.0, the organization of events, the development of apps on smartphones and tablets, and the study of image positioning and commercials.

The main milestones of Egg 2.0 are summarized in the following list:

  • Mission: to train new creative talents and launch them in the working world and, at the same time, give the working world the young talents’ innovative answers.
  • Team selection: this is carried out by an external jury that selects the future members of the factory.
  • The working area: a loft that everyone shares without having fixed working spaces.
  • Work management: a horizontal model which is transparent and inclusive.
  • An ethos of sharing: sharing company challenges and results.
  • Factory life: paying attention to activities outside of work.
  • An absence of hierarchy.
  • Alternating work and appointments with personalities from the arts and communication world.

Every Egger takes part in the creative, executive and control phases. This is because one of the hinges of the experience at Egg 2.0 is understanding one’s own role in connection with others, whether these are the group, the customer or the outside world.

Teamwork is focused on understanding the problem so that it can be handled in the best way, not just in terms of creativity but also in terms of strategy. One of the most acknowledged qualities of the projects carried out by clients is the attention given to finding good cross-media solutions in both the short and long term.

This approach is inevitably more demanding, both in terms of time dedication and mental application, but much more stimulating for everybody.

In a field of application such as creativity, linked with communication, it is hard to determine what the new trends and developments will be, and thus decide which expertise to invest in.

However, Egg 2.0 aims at steady growth through a continuous consolidation of the company, determined not only by its members’ technical skills but also and especially by their aptitude.

The most important resource is the ability to become interested in the future, being aware that your role within the factory is not just functional but also motivational and that the co-responsibility for choices is the winning card that makes the individual or group evolve. With this approach, the company is training professional people who are completely different from those found in the market, or educated by universities: cross-media, multitasking, cool-hunting are the keywords that give everyone’s profile extra points.

Egg 2.0 has decided to bet on young people alone and their ability to imagine the future by reinventing the present.

Doing this periodically, renewing the investment every year by using a considerable part of turnover, and spending great energy on the creation and training of a new team, are the strategic choices of Egg 2.0.

In only three years, Egg 2.0 has seen the generation of as many as 64 young talents. Fortunately, this constant work has resulted in finding a job right away for more than 80 per cent of the young people: some by consolidating their role within the factory, some by co-operating in specific activities and others by joining organizations closely linked with Egg 2.0 (customers, suppliers, partners).

This is a remarkable result for everyone: for the factory who can show with figures that its mission is valuable; for the youngsters who, besides having training of a high quality, can really find a job; for the customers who can measure up to a world which is dynamic, fresh, full of ideas and without structural barriers.

Nevertheless, in order to keep this approach reliable there are very few rules to follow and many choices to make, in most cases determined by common sense and the ability to understand everyone’s talent and personality and take them along a path where the single individual can learn how to be part of a bigger group which is very close and competitive, and able to meet the challenges of the world around them with a more clear and confident attitude.

Human resources have a centralized role in the company, they contribute to its development and enable it to adapt to changes in the knowledge society.

While computer development brings a dematerialization of work and some trends lead to thinking that teamwork and direct and continuous co-operation are no longer an essential qualification, Egg 2.0 bets on sharing spaces, projects and emotions so that young people can start a phase of professional growth which helps them measure up to their own talents as well as to those of others.

Source: author. With thanks to Dr Guido Avigdor, Creative Director and Partner at Egg 2.0


Q1. What do you think about Egg 2.0 strategy?

Q2. Could it be a profitable strategy?

Q3. What is your opinion on Egg’s management of human resources? Does it seem to be a profitable model?