A Coloplast-sponsored website that helps people with stomas discuss and upload innovative solutions related to their condition is a big hit with users.
innovationbyyou.com, an independent website sponsored by Coloplast, is proving extremely popular among people with stomas, registering over 700 users, 200 hundred message posts, and receiving nearly 80 innovative ideas in its first week-and-a-half.
The site was launched on the 16th February 2009 and connects stoma patients around the world with each other and gives them a forum to suggest innovations in stoma care.
"It's innovation from the perspective of people with stomas who might stand in front of the mirror and think about what they need to do to improve their life," says Peter Kragh, Director of Innovation, Ostomy Care Marketing at Coloplast and who has been closely involved with the development of the site. The site is run by people with a stoma and Coloplast is providing sponsorship in the form of technical expert knowledge, and awards.
innovationbyyou.com has tools to help users, such as instructional videos on how to draw your idea.
"Users can submit their ideas but also discuss ideas with other users. In this way, you can get many different perspectives on a problem, and sometimes two or three different but related problems can come together and find a single solution. Users become co-innovators."
Kragh sees analogies between stoma-innovation.com and other user-driven innovation websites, such as the do-it-yourself T-shirt maker threadless.com, or open-source computer programming. "It's about the people that use the product being part of its development. They have what I call 'sticky information', that unarticulated experience that can really make a difference to a product and in-turn a user."
stoma-innovation.com has some useful tools to help people express themselves. For example, a series of videos give a fast overview of how to sketch, helping people to draw what they mean if they cannot quite find the right words. In the same vein, users can also upload videos of their idea.
The site is currently running a competition whereby the person who submits the best solution as judged by a panel of experts wins €1000. There are also prizes for best solutions as voted for by the site's community.
Users responsible for the best solutions are likely to be invited to take part in further innovation projects at Coloplast.
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