Open innovation allows organizations to harness the creative efforts of others, both across the globe and in the office down the hall. The OI process is one that inspires and engages creative thinkers and transforms them into collaborators. While many corporations are establishing OI programs, not all find success. We offer these dos and don’ts as guideposts, avoiding common pitfalls and finding the path to effective OI.
- Set Goals. Know why you are establishing an OI program and what you want to achieve. Define the problems you want to solve or advancements you want to realize and develop an OI program that supports these goals.
- Invest in Creativity. Break down internal organizational silos, including job descriptions and departments, and allow meaningful contribution to your projects, regardless of their source. Follow those same principles and engage outside collaborators by looking at the value of the information received rather than who contributed it.
- Engage Your Targets. Each type of project attracts different groups of contributors, and you need to determine how to engage each one. Some focus on financial incentives while others enjoy gamification. Select the best processes that will engage the right collaborators.
- Equalize the Playing Field. Treat collaborators as the partners they are, not as a secondary player in the process. This person brings significant value to the table – a concept for a new product or process. Your contribution is the R&D expertise, manufacturing capabilities, and marketing expertise to transform this idea into a profitable unit. Each piece is critical to success, and both parties must share the risk and rewards.
- Take Charge of IP. Have a system in place that specifically addresses intellectual property (IP) issues for the protection of the company and the collaborator. You need to have a reputation of respecting the IP rights of collaborators, or no one will participate in your OI program, and you will spend time and money in a courtroom.
- Think of “Mine.” Many companies struggle with the concept of OI because there is a cultural belief that internal development is the only way to create value. This singular concept destroys OI systems. Instead of ‘mine’ look to ‘ours’ because this allows you to accept outside collaboration, which leads to increased market responsiveness, profitability, and competitive edge.
- Keep Culture Set in Stone. OI is not a department or a job title, it is a corporate commitment, and the culture needs to adapt to this new way of thinking and doing. Without a cultural shift to support OI, the organization remains bogged in the ‘mine’ mentality, and their OI program will fail.
- “Let it Happen.” OI requires careful thought and planning, with resources in place to advertise collaboration opportunities, accept submissions, evaluate their quality, and manage IP. Find the right tool to help you manage these processes, or you could miss great opportunities because they were lost in the sea of submissions, or find yourself defending against an IP infringement lawsuit.
- Get Greedy. OI is not a something for nothing proposition. Pay collaborators fairly, create opportunities for mentoring those who have great potential. Upfront efforts can lead to great rewards, but only if you show respect to your partners.
- Every minute you consider whether or not to start an OI program, your competitors are engaging innovators from around the world, capturing ideas that could have been yours. If you need quick market response, want to grow your market share, or stay relevant in your industry start an OI program today.
The goal of open innovation is to access external and internal intellectual resources to help an organization expand their products and services. This process can be complicated, but Ezassi’s Open Innovation Software Platform provides the tools you need to successfully manage it. Request a demo and learn how Ezassi can support your development of an OI system.