The Story of InnoCentive

Celebrate the successes and long-term impact of InnoCentive on the world of innovation.

From InnoCentive to Wazoku Crowd

In 2020, Wazoku acquired InnoCentive – adding a leading crowdsourcing and open talent community to its platform for idea management and innovation. This may have been a change you’d seen before, but if you’re new here: InnoCentive is now part of the Wazoku brand and offering, and we won’t be calling our open talent capability ‘InnoCentive’ anymore.

We thought we’d celebrate the successes and long-term impact of InnoCentive on the world of innovation. No one has done more to popularize crowdsourcing by connecting problems with the experts who can solve them. From an idea between Alpheus Bingham and Aaron Schacht to delivering solutions with USD$1,000,000 awards, InnoCentive was at the forefront of changing the world, one idea at a time.

“The rapid shift to remote working and the need for engaging dispersed networks to innovate and solve problems has seen a significant increase in demand for both our idea management and open innovation services. We will continue to invest in new talent, in product development, and our focus on continuing to build awareness of the power of open business models for driving cost-effective and highly impactful business change.”

Simon Hill
CEO and Co-Founder of Wazoku
InnoCentive logo

What was InnoCentive?

It was a company that made getting the right people in front of the right problem possible.

Extending the reach of its global clients to a network of 500,000+ problem solvers, InnoCentive boasted customers from the Fortune-2000 list, local and national start-ups, to humanitarian not-for-profits. For the team at InnoCentive, no problem was too big or too small to leave unsolved.

The impacts of challenges solved through InnoCentive cannot be understated. A few of the successful challenge stories include:

“Integrating idea management and crowdsourcing allows companies to solve problems and create opportunities using channels both outside and inside the organization. This combination of market leaders represents a substantial maturation of the open innovation sector.”

Dr. Thomas Malone
Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence

What was InnoCentive’s purpose and philosophy?

InnoCentive was founded on three key realizations:

There will always be someone smarter outside of your team/organization

Getting a diverse range of fresh perspectives is key to effective problem solving

Asking the right question in the right way is critical to getting the answers you need

Purchase by Wazoku

In 2020, Wazoku acquired InnoCentive, which is now integrated with the wider Wazoku proposition creating a unique innovation at scale offering. Across over 2,500 innovation challenges, 200,000 innovations captured, and over $60,000,000 in award amounts we have proven that it is not always the most ‘expert’ minds in a specific field that have the capacity to solve challenges. They can be solved anywhere, by anyone, at any time.

“No other firm has the experience and capability of crowdsourcing, idea management, and open innovation that this combined proposition brings. The possibilities and potential are hugely exciting.”

Alpheus Bingham
CEO and Co-Founder of InnoCentive

History of InnoCentive timeline

  • The idea of InnoCentive is born

  • The company is launched by Jill Panetta, Jeff Hensley, Darren Carroll, and Alpheus Bingham with majority seed funding from Eli Lilly & Company

  • InnoCentive spins out of Eli Lilly

  • InnoCentive signs an agreement with the Rockefeller Foundation to add a non-profit area: designed to generate science and technology solutions to pressing problems in the developing world

  • The Rockefeller Foundations runs a series of 10 challenges that had an 80% success rate

  • An InnoCentive Solver develops solution to help clean up remaining oil from the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill disaster

  • InnoCentive and NASA offer the global community an opportunity to advance the U.S. Space Program with seven challenges including - Data-Driven Forecasting of Solar Events and microgravity laundry system

  • Award made for the Prize4Life-sponsored Lou Gehrig’s/ALS challenge that was launched 5 years earlier - USD$1,000,000 was awarded to the winning Solver(s)

  • DARPA receives a winning solution for its chemical weapons destruction work

  • An anonymous Seeker runs a successful challenge looking for color-shifting materials or technology, paving the way to science fiction levels of camouflage

  • The Department of Homeland Security runs a challenge looking for new tech to detect, locate, and communicate with first responders inside buildings in emergency situations

  • The car manufacturer Porsche creates a challenge looking for novel ideas and concepts for a system to autonomously transport assembled vehicles between operating sites within a factory

  • Wazoku acquires InnoCentive for USD$1.3m, creating the world’s most comprehensive innovation management system and external innovation crowd

  • Wazoku partners with Habitat for Humanity and WorldVision to run humanitarian challenges – to widen access to clean water, improve sanitation for public health, and protect homes from natural disasters

  • Simon Hill and Alpheus Bingham publish ‘One Smart Crowd’ book – celebrating the capability of the human imagination to solve any problem

  • The InnoCentive brand that raised over USD$30m in nearly 20 years becomes part of Wazoku – with InnoCentive now being called the Wazoku Crowd