In a recent NYTimes.com article titled "Here's an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas," Tim O'Reilly, the founder and chief executive of O'Reilly Media, the computer book publisher and an evangelist for open source technologies, is quoted as stating that creativity is no longer about which companies have the most visionary executives, but who has the most compelling "architecture of participation."
That is, which companies make it easy, interesting and rewarding for a wide range of contributors to offer ideas, solve problems and improve products.
I was really struck by the phrase "architecture of participation" and began to think about how do we design and build a structures that make it easy for more people to be involved with the process of creating new value.
The article focuses on internal markets as an engaging process of getting people to express their honest opinions. One example of expanded participation came from Rite-Solutions which focuses primarily on high-tech applications for the military market. A member of the administrative staff with no technical expertise thought there might be a way to use the company technology to help students learn math or history in an entertaining way. This concept led to the co-development with Hasbro and the launch of a new educational multimedia system called VuGo.
This seems like a great question for feedback. How is your organization making it "easy, interesting and rewarding for a wide range of contributors to offer ideas, solve problems and improve products?" Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.