Multistep rather than black box

The multistep approach allows to engage experts and to satisfy seekers, in a safe, secured and trustable environment. It ensures better performance for problem solving, less frustration among solvers and less disappointment among seekers.

Online problem solving is often thought of as a “black-box process”: the seeker gives the input, waits a few months and finally opens the box to discover the set of submitted solutions. This process implemented by nearly all Open Innovation platforms has various drawbacks, the main ones being:

  • motivation decrease and risk-averse behavior of solvers,
  • inefficiency to reach quality and relevant solutions,
  • limited incentives for seekers to be fair and pay for all valuable solutions.

We propose instead a three-step “gray-box” process for online problem solving. Based on our experience, we believe that this innovative process has a high potential to leverage expertise and intelligence through problem solving.

The three-step process serves to filter experts in order to select the 2 to 5 most relevant ones out of the initial automatically generated list. Each step is a gate where experts that have accepted the invitation to solve a problem are asked to provide additional information.

The present article is after the chapter we wrote in the book “A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing: A Compendium of Best Practice, Advice and Case Studies from Leading Thinkers, Commentators and Practitioners“.