Let me be clear. Open innovation can indeed bring significant value. I can highlight:
Still, you should lower your expectations. Depending on the challenges and engagement levels you get, you may be able to land some potentially interesting innovations. Yet, however positive and confident you and your company may be about developing your initiative, these benefits won’t just follow automatically.
A new approach
At Exago, we’ve looked for a more real-world definition of open innovation: the science of engaging your organisation’s ecosystem – both the internal and external stakeholder networks – to address business challenges and identify new growth opportunities.
If you’re developing an open innovation initiative, have its real meaning in mind. Also, don’t overlook the potential to establish new partnerships and identify more business opportunities. Remember to explore the latest technological trends as well.
To make your efforts worthwhile, you and your leadership have to define clear timelines and goals, both tangible (projects, ideas, etc.) and intangible (culture, positioning, collaboration behaviours, etc.). Establish a flexible workflow design to meet these goals. Focus on your organisation’s challenges and find relevance – both for your company and contributors.
When targeting participants, consider suppliers, customers and universities. But do not forget your most valuable asset. Your employees are themselves a community of stakeholders, often from different countries, cultures, backgrounds and businesses.
They are your most important open innovation source. True, your teams may have their own orthodoxies. Yet they understand, more than anyone else, what is relevant and what would and wouldn’t work in your company.
Internal crowds have their say
FROM THE START:
What could possibly go wrong with open innovation?