The open-source software movement developed because people had an "itch to scratch". One that "off-the-shelf" software did not support or was too costly to use. In the open source community people want to contribute, learn and share their knowledge and experience. They want to participate in a rich learning environment. They want to be able to get their work done and make a difference. We know from experience that these ideas work in a business environment.
From McKinsey, "Succeeding at open-source innovation: An interview with Mozilla's Mitchell Baker." This article offers three great tips for any size organization wanting to tap external ideas. Ms. Baker also talks about having a participatory culture.
Most of these social software technologies, at least the ones we set up, use tags (think tag clouds), folksonomies, taxonomies, , voting, reviews, recommendations, and search. This makes it quick and easy for experts as well as cross-collaboration teams to quickly and easily filter through ideas.