SAP Invests in InnoCentive

Today at 10 AM, SAP, the business software provider, announced that its SAP NetWeaver Fund will invest in InnoCentive, the Web site where people post engineering and design problems to the public and offer cash rewards for solutioins.

InnoCentive created a SAP-branded “pavilion” within InnoCentive, basically a site within the site. There, to initiate their partnership, SAP posted three challenges related to using social networking for corporate purposes, handling web server issues, and creating a video that would effectively illustrate how online communities of software developers are beneficial. The total reward money for the three solutions is $25,000. (SAP didn’t break down how each individual challenge solver will be rewarded.)

The move comes as both SAP and InnoCentive are ramping up their respective visibility by emphasizing their open-innovation strengths. Check out a recent column by John Hagel and John Seely Brown on SAP’s ecosystem of partners, as well as a recent podcast I did with InnoCentive CEO Dwayne Spradlin, for more updates on SAP and InnoCentive. The news today of their partnership illustrates by example how both players continue to re-define collaboration, of course.