Platforms for Collaboration

Some of the brightest ideas for social change grow in the spaces between organizations and sectors. Yet few organizations have systems that make collaboration happen. To foster innovation, organizations need to develop places where they can come together and work creatively—that is, platforms for collaboration. In this article, a management expert identifies three kinds of collaboration platforms—exploration, experimentation, and execution—and then outlines what organizations can do to put these platforms to work for them.

The Rockefeller Foundation had a simple question: How can you turn a solar-powered flashlight into an all-purpose room light? For parts of the world that lack access to regular electricity, the answer to this question could save lives in hospitals, educate children after dusk, and power cottage industries after the crops are harvested.

Yet no one knew the answer. And so the Rockefeller Foundation paired up with InnoCentive to ask 160,000 independent inventors worldwide how they might transform...

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