Derek Bishop


Crowd-sourcing policy

Date added: 19th Apr 2016
Category: Innovation Culture

Collaborative innovation in action with the Bank of England's OBRA initiative

What do you understand by collaboration? Is it simply task sharing or working together to reach a common goal; or is it something far deeper in which the pooling of ideas, experiences and expertise combine to deliver meaningful solutions.

Collaboration comes up a lot when we talk about innovation and it’s great to see examples of collaborative innovation in action. For example, the Bank of England’s One Bank Research Agenda (OBRA) has recently issued a call for academics, researchers and experts to collaborate with a view to helping the Bank deliver its OBRA agenda.

OBRA topics for the first half of 2016 cover a wide range of areas from big data and technology to communication, culture and financial innovation. By calling for collaborative input, the Bank not only hopes to actively engage with the wider research community, it also sees this as an important step in moving towards its goal of crowdsourcing solutions to key policy questions.

By drawing on external expertise in this way, the Bank is not only setting up a dialogue, but also creating the conditions in which collaborative interactions can devise solutions which would rarely arise if discussions were solely confined to its own employees. It’s a lesson which applies to organisations which are seeking to create real solutions through collaborative innovation. Yes, as a starting point businesses will probably have to break down internal silos and barriers to collaboration; but by drawing customers, suppliers, academics, researchers and even competitors into the collaborative mix, game changing solutions can arise.

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