Open Innovation From A Practitioner's Perspective

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Netflix Prize Winners Announced

This is proving to be a fascinating story on open innovation/crowdsourcing and the tremendous benefits it can provide, beyond financial. Clearly it’s important to achieve the desired financial results (new sales, reduced costs, etc) but the other rewards are just as important. These include learning how to ask the question, the value of iteration, expanding your network.

Netflix has announced the winner of the first Netflix prize, which was created to improve their current recommendation engine by 10%. The process itself and what was learned along the way were as interesting as the result itself. Teams cooperated and published their algorithms, with the hope that others would come in and improve them (and they did). The original team would take the improved algorithm and make it even better. Some companies gave their employees permission to work on this during their work hours. Why? Because in the end this made them better programmers and what they learned by participating actually led to $10 million payoff (internally), according to one company.

Netflix announced a new competition with a new set of criteria, it’s also covered in the same article. Looks like they learned how to better frame the question……

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