Innocentive: The Problem-Solving Marketplace
In 2001, Lilly launched InnoCentive, a company designed to expand Lilly’s access to the global scientific network. InnoCentive created a global online network that now exceeds 250,000 scientists around the world and operates as a sort of “open market” for technical challenges. Lilly scientists have tapped into this network to obtain solutions to many technical challenges, and external scientists have received monetary rewards from InnoCentive for solving technical problems. This crowd-sourcing approach has proved to be quite effective at solving challenges cost-effectively and efficiently.
In 2005, Lilly brought in venture-capital investors to expand InnoCentive, but retained 20 percent ownership and a seat on the board of directors. Since then, the company has expanded its open-innovation approach to address a broad array of problems from diverse sectors of society, including governments, nonprofits, and other corporations, both within and outside of the pharmaceutical sector. Clients, including Lilly scientists, NASA, the Cleveland Clinic, Procter & Gamble, the Environmental Defense Fund, and many others, post their problems under “pavilions” divided by topic area. At any given time, challenges posted across the pavilions might range from traditional biochemistry conundrums, to the creation of alternative fuel sources for impoverished women in the developing world, to removing contamination from plastics recycling, to how to more effectively conduct humanitarian food drops.
To learn more, visit the Innocentive website.