Collaborative Innovation: Marketing vs. the Platform


Someone recently asked me about the topics of innovation & collaboration.   The question was whether this is simply a bunch of marketing and people stuff.   They wanted to know why the technology mattered….and my response was this….

The marketing and people stuff is important — no question about it. Any successful collaborative technology deployment I was part of had “marketing” component which is very key to that overall success once you have setup the platform.  However, you must do viral marketing — leveraging the power of social networks to evangelize the platform (and based on my experiences I’d argue this is the case both outside an organization as well as inside).   

A collaboration/innovation initiative for an organization must be grass roots and bottom up. As much as you might try to “manage” innovation (eg. stage-gates,etc..). or “manage” and force the use of collaboration technology — you simply can’t.   Today – the technology is the business and the business is the technology.  And technology is equally important and the platform has to be compelling otherwise users will not adopt it!    Facebook is compelling. Linkedin is compelling. Rimm Blackberry is compelling. Google is compelling. These platforms don’t need to do much marketing do they? 😉  And others may try to copy them and they may even try to “out-market” them to compete — but overtime no amount of marketing or touchy-feely people stuff will outshine a superior technology platform with superior features that spreads by word of mouth.

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