Innovation without borders means that you’re no longer concerned about where your next great idea comes from – you’re only concerned with it being great. It means that there is no job title, mission parameter, or geography that curtails creativity or delivering on that creativity.

Let’s look at some great ideas that came from surprising places

Jonathan Friedman is a 39-year-old freelance graphic designer who loves his Great Dane dog. He’s a music enthusiast who plays piano, guitar, and drums and now… he’s also a millionaire. The most popular ad in the 2012 Super Bowl was a 30-second spot called Man’s Best Friend. The actual ad was produced for about $20 by this guy living in Virginia who won a million dollars for being the top pick Super Bowl ad.

There is no job title, mission parameter, or geography that curtails creativity or delivering on that creativity.

Trudy Givens is a wife and mother who has worked as a business administrator at the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 19 years. She also shared her idea in the President’s SAVE Award where she was recognized for her enormously sensible suggestion: send the Federal Register – a daily diary of government notices and regulations – to federal employees online, rather than by snail mail, which reduced the mailing list from 25,000 to 500 and saved the government and taxpayers an estimated $16 million in 2015.

Finally, a very exciting project with a potentially global impact was sourced from a global competition called Making All Voices Count (now in its second year). The grand prize winning project used mobile reporting to improve the delivery of government services to those who need them most. Through the use of their system, they were able to improve student attendance from 78% to 92%. Now they are enhancing the tool to apply it to healthcare, public utilities, and more. A few years ago, they were just a group of developers and entrepreneurs working in Pakistan and now they’ve got over $1 million in capital to take their project to the next level.

These are just a few of (probably) millions of great examples. It’s very hard to imagine most businesses getting to their next great idea without asking for collaboration and having the same level of impact these folks do from all corners of the globe. We’re talking about feature ideas, food ideas, design ideas, market disrupting ideas, possibly things that will change the way our governments work or how our planet functions. What great ideas are you hearing from unlikely places and how are you listening for them?

If you’re interested in learning more examples of “Innovation without Borders,” register for a complimentary webinar with guests from Accenture, IdeaScale, and the former CTO of the United States of America. The online session will be followed with a live Q&A.

By Rob Hoehn

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.

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