It was a little more than a decade ago that Berkeley professor Henry Chesbrough started developing the concept of Open Innovation at the Center for Open Innovation, where he was also a director. Back then, Chesbrough’s idea of Open Innovation relates to pooling platforms or tools to help foster innovation and share ideas. And because businesses experience more collaboration today, Open Innovation is much more relevant in the current business climate.
It is no secret that business environments have become increasingly complex. You do not only have to work with scarce resources and tight budgets, but you also need to keep up with changes in technology – with new ones emerging every day. You also have to foster sharing of knowledge and intelligence while also facilitating collaboration when you are co-innovating or co-creating. And collaboration and co-creation are no longer limited to employees, but now includes other parties such as customers, SMEs, suppliers, associations, startups and other entities in the business ecosystem.
How do you promote Open Innovation in your organization?
- Bring together your internal and external projects. You can use just one platform that will enable you to get ideas from outside your organization while also letting outsiders test out the ideas of your employees. Not only will you be able to share ideas and intelligence easily, but you also get to test ideas more quickly, as well as get new ideas from everyone.
- Use both offline and online methods when you are co-creating. Efficiently getting new concepts for your products will need the use of both offline and online methods. For example, you can get employees, experts, customers, developers and/or designers to help you design your product. As such, you would need to ensure that your offline and online campaigns complement one another.
- Run better and less risky contests. Run contests to help you generate ideas as well as getting around challenges. Moreover, contests are also a good opportunity to develop Open Innovation for your company. To lessen the amount of work, the risks as well as to make it more successful, it is best to work with a non-competing company or a group of companies. You would be able to spread the work while also establishing a collaborative mindset, while also learning to protect your intellectual property and remaining agile.
- Manage your ideas effectively. It is very important to manage your ideas every step of the way. When you allow everyone to contribute ideas, it will be very easy for some people to monopolize the entire process. Early on, you should be able to pinpoint the key people who are qualified to contribute ideas at different stages of the project.
- Collaborate with others from different industries with different specializations. The thing with Open Innovation is that it naturally lends itself to disruptive innovations. To be more competitive in today’s business environments, your innovations should not only come from or pertain to your core business. You should be able to manage complex collaborations with people and companies from different industries. For example, Smart City needs to bring together different players that belong to different industries, such as architecture, transportation, telecommunications and other urban infrastructure companies.
These are the 5 most important ways to foster Open Innovation in your organization. Follow these key tasks and your enterprise will be on its way to simpler business processes.