A New Kind of Solution-Sharing Network - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management

A New Kind of Solution-Sharing Network

Leverage solution-sharing networks for innovation.


Ventana Research agrees with many others that higher levels of innovation performance are likely to occur if innovation is founded on a collaborative paradigm. One way this can happen is through the establishment of solution-sharing networks (SSNs) — something Microsoft recently borrowed from the environmental movement.


Microsoft recently announced a SSN aimed at facilitating collaboration in the public sector by enabling global public sector partners and customers “to share their unique IT solutions, architectures, best practices, application source code ... and research.” If this kind of SSN takes off, then some kind of innovation is almost guaranteed to result.

A SSN is potentially a good approach for improving performance at the innovation-generation stage of the innovation management process because, according to the “Movement as Network” website (www.movementasnetwork.org), all SSNs focus on:

  • Problem articulation
  • Solution development
  • Strategy development
  • Solution implementation

The fact that Microsoft is adopting the SSN paradigm indicates we may see more technology companies going this way as a means to drive the discovery and definition of more innovative products and services. In effect, Microsoft’s SSN is little more than a solution-focused “community of interest,” but it’s still an initiative worth pursuing as a means to stimulate innovation.


Ventana Research recommends businesses that have identified a need to improve the performance of their innovation-generation activities consider investigating SSNs by participating in one or establishing their own. For example, a micro-SSN could involve a small group of organizational stakeholders comprising employees and business partner representatives, all focused on a specific innovation solution objective. We also expect more technology companies to follow Microsoft’s lead in establishing SSNs as part of their innovation activities.

Stewart McKie is European Analyst Director at Ventana Research.

Ventana Research is the preeminent research and advisory services firm helping our clients maximize stakeholder value with performance management throughout their organizations. Putting research in a business and IT context we provide insight and education on the best practices, methodologies and technologies that enable our clients to leverage assets to understand, optimize, and align strategies and processes to meet their goals and objectives.

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