Enterprise Crowdfunding: How an IBM experiment improved innovation

by David Drake Can the principles of crowdfunding work within the walls of an established corporation such as IBM? With the popularity of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Kiva, crowdfunding has taken a new turn inward in corporate America. We are calling the trend Intranet or Enterprise Crowdfunding. Instead of going out to seek financing, technology giant IBM saw the internet fundraising model as a viable way to generate engagement and participation within its own ranks, and to spark innovation and collaboration by its own employees. On August 28, I had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Muller of IBM Research, who initiated this project together with Steven Daniels, Werner Geyer, Todd Soule and John Wafer. The IBM initiative is one of the world’s first enterprise crowdfunding projects. The first trial run was started in the spring of 2012. Compared to Internet Crowdfunding, where individuals or groups use their own personal funds to finance projects they want to support, IBM’s month-long Intranet Crowdfunding project was sponsored and funded by the enterprise itself. But the decision of how and where to allocate the company fund was left up to the employees. Five hundred employees were each given $100 and the chance to propose a […]

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