Chris Brogan's post (Solve Some Real World Problems) this morning really caught my attention. It's a call to action for startups and individuals alike to rethink how they might use their businesses or positions to help solve real problems in the world. As Solvers at InnoCentive I know you are motivated by the chance to really impact the world, not just the chance to earn money. InnoCentive's philanthropic endeavors, and the amazing potential this business has to enable individuals to contribute to solving the world's most important Challenges was a large part of my motivation when I took this job as the marketing manager and social media evangelist. This year you have helped bringing solar powered light to Africa through SunightSolar, helped innovate ways to clean up remaining oil in Alaska for OSRI, and are currently sending in your research results on how to help detect a biomarker for ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease.
I had an interesting conversation with Michael Anuzis yesterday about ways to continue to improve the depth of opportunity that InnoCentive offers to contributers who want to make a difference in the world. He is one of many individuals who have blogged, called, emailed or dm'd me recently with ideas for growing our business. It's pretty inspiring to see how strongly people believe in the concept of InnoCentive. He suggested that we find a way to allow individuals to contribute small amounts of money towards innovation projects they see on InnoCentive.com. Much like the contribution model of our friends at Global Giving. I suggested that perhaps we could even allow individuals to post an idea for a Challenge that they feel strongly about, and then use the website as a way to gather financial support around it. Once the support has hit a certain level, they would be allowed to post the Challenge and ask for solutions. These are just initial ideas, and I know you have more - please share them with us! As we grow the business, especially the philanthropic side of the business, we want to hear your thoughts.