Driving Open Innovation Through a Culture of Collaboration
Open Innovation is grounded in the belief that great ideas can come from any source and an organization’s internal expertise will transform those ideas into market value. The challenge comes when an organization chooses to shift from a closed innovation system to an open one. The decision to make this change will not be successful unless it is accompanied by a corresponding adjustment in corporate culture.
The Cultural Shift
When we discuss a corporation’s culture, we are in essence referring to its personality. It is rooted in shared values, attitudes and traditions that its leaders and employees believe in. As a result, corporate culture directs how its people behave toward each other and those outside the company. For long-term business success, this culture must align with corporate goals, strategies, and vision.
Although each company is different, most have a traditional corporate culture that includes the belief that all innovation is internally driven. An organization with this culture is not capable of sustaining an open innovation initiative unless it is willing to change.
Open innovation requires a culture of collaboration to thrive. This includes corporate values of knowledge sharing and co-development that is supported by Open Innovation Management Systems to drive success.
From Traditional to Collaboration
Shifting a company’s culture is difficult. The values and beliefs are literally embedded in every policy, procedure, meeting, and event. Traditional cultures also foster a territorial attitude among employees, which can make change unsettling for them. Their job, department, or branch is something to be protected from others, both internally and externally, which is at odds with a collaboration mindset.
To achieve a culture change from traditional to collaboration, an organization must:
- Start at the Top. Organizational leadership must reflect the new corporate culture in every aspect of their work behaviors and actions.
- Identify and Change Key “Old Culture” Systems. Look for ways in which the old culture is codified in policies and procedures, or reflected in everything from team building exercises to corporate retreats, and change them to reflect a collaboration culture.
- Create Structures and Systems that Facilitate Open Communication. Collaboration is founded in open communication, and it must exist within the company as well as across organizational boundaries.
- Redefine Roles. Utilize job descriptions and performance objectives to aid employees’ understanding of the culture change, and its impact on corporate expectations. Empower employees with training and development opportunities so they can fully participate and support the collaboration culture.
- Align Impacted Services. Open innovation and collaboration culture require the development of new tools and understandings in areas such as legal, human resources, and procurement. Utilize effective OI management systems to assure that the organization is legally protected while expanding its reach.
Full commitment to OI requires an organization to shift their culture from their current model to one that embraces collaboration. Ezassi’s Idea and Open Innovation Management Solution with IP Protection supports this change by giving you the tools to align your impacted services and provide a framework for meaningful innovation within your company. Contact us to learn more or request a demo.