Now journalists are renowned for being a bit hard-nosed, and even some would say cynical bunch. Far be it for us to endorse without thoroughly scrubbing claims with an unforgiving brush of steel wool.
But I think I’ve just discovered, or more to the point been told about something really, really good. Cheap(ish), innovative and likely to win you brownie points in the boardroom.
It's called InnoCentive and in a nutshell, if you've got a problem, they've got a nerd who will solve it. Look at their site for details. But buyers at big firms like Colgate Palmolive have solved a product problem using this service and it cost them $25,000. Not free, but a lot less than hiring a team of experts to try it. Their problem was all about getting toothpaste in the tube and compressed air, the detail really doesn't matter, but according to Corey Billington, professor of procurement and operations at IMD, this is the future.
Addressing the audience at the European Procurement Summit, he was full of praise for this technique. Got to be worth a look.