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Coca-Cola Embracing Open Innovation, Taps into Facebook Fan Base for Ideas
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Coca-Cola Embracing Open Innovation, Taps into Facebook Fan Base for Ideas

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant and one of the world’s most recognizable brands, is looking to open up its innovation process, the company’s director of innovation Anthony Newstead announced at Dreamforce 2012.

“[We are going] through a phase of risk awareness rather than risk aversion,” Newstead said at the conference. “You need to have a good way to communicate for that to work and email is not it: social collaboration is the way to go. You have to move away from a command control top down secretive model to a more collaborative one.”

To get the initiative started, Coca-Cola has signed on to Salesforce’s Chatter social networking tool, which will help the company’s employees share ideas and insights. It is also engaging its fans to contribute ideas on Facebook. The company recently unveiled the Coca-Cola Sharing Happiness App, though the initiative has yet to fully launch. Coke is currently asking its fans to simply register, promising that those who sign up will "be the first to know how we can share more happiness together."

This isn’t the first time Coca-Cola turns to crowdsourcing, though past (and current) initiatives mostly revolved around marketing – Yannig Roth documented several projects here.

When it comes to innovation, though, Coca-Cola has mostly stayed as secretive as its closely-guarded secret formula (though exceptions do exist). Now, in an attempt to double the company’s revenues by 2020, the company will pursue a more open approach to innovation that will involve “flattening the hierarchy.“

Coca-Cola’s foray into more open R&D once again reminds us of the fact that the most innovative companies are not the ones that pour money into their research. Rather, they are the ones that get the best ideas from their employees, customers, partners – and potentially even complete strangers. 

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  • Guest Crowd Hydrant Sep 22, 2012 02:05 pm GMT

    Crowdsourcing isn't just a marketing tactic. Successful companies are also using it to drive innovation. Didn't Peter Drucker once say that "marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs?" Crowdsourcing is the one tool businesses can use to accomplish both - and often at the same time.

  • Guest Kevin Stark Sep 24, 2012 03:51 pm GMT

    The external link referencing the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is a multi-faceted example of Coca-Cola utilizing Open Innovation for breakthrough product development. The concept was tested and developed externally with multiple development partners, and they have built a large manufacturing facility to support their micro dosing of 100+ flavors in one machine. While not getting a lot of press (outside their Facebook marketing) it is upending the entire retail soda dispensing paradigm, and enables them to guarantee product quality through a fully controlled system, and they're not just shipping bags of syrup anymore! Very cool stuff still slowly rolling out nationwide (and my favorite is Fanta Zero Peach).

  • Guest Greg Jan 29, 2013 12:05 am GMT

    a cool co creation site is www.youZingit.com
    try it out for free......

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