InnoCentive.com, a firm connecting R&D labs of large organizations to diverse external solvers through innovation contests, has to decide if they will enable collaboration in their community. Case covers the basics of a distributed innovation system works and the advantages of having external R&D. Links how concepts of open source are applied to a non-software setting. Describes the rationale for participation by solvers in innovation contests and the benefits that accrue to firms. Raises the issue if a community can be shifted to collaboration when competition was the basis of prior interaction.