People are territorial by nature, protective of their homes, job duties, and relationships. We don’t like others infringing on areas we have claimed as our own. Companies are organizations of people working toward a common goal. As a human endeavor, the corporation’s culture embodies human traits including a suspicion of outsiders and fierce protectionism of its entrenched systems. Unfortunately, these typical business characteristics inhibit the organization achieving true open innovation.
The Open Innovation/Traditional Corporate Culture Clash
Traditional business culture is founded on specific beliefs:
- No one can do it better than we can.
- Everyone has a job and job title and need to stay within their roles.
- Data silos organize information and protect sensitive information.
- With few exceptions, how we’ve always done it is just fine so why change it.
- Our processes are secrets to be protected from outsiders.
- Innovation and market response is important, but it’s more important that we control the process.
In contrast, an open innovation culture is based on different beliefs:
- We don’t need to originate an idea to develop and profit from it.
- We will capitalize on intellectual resources regardless of their internal or external origins.
- Information must be shared within the organization and with external collaborators to achieve true innovation.
- Building a better business model will result in long-term success.
- External collaborators create value, and our internal R&D allows us to share in that value.
- Market responsiveness is necessary for survival, and open innovation is the key to that success.
Make the Change
The true challenge in implementing a successful open innovation system is changing the corporate culture to support the new business model. This process goes beyond developing new job titles and using open innovation jargon and begins by redefining the organization’s core values and developing the culture from that foundation. While this may seem daunting, start by:
- Identifying and training a few employees in key cultural leadership roles to champion transformation and impact sub-culture attitudes toward OI.
- Changing corporate attitudes toward communication, specifically disclosure and confidentiality. Utilize OI tools that protect the IP of both the organization and its contributors.
- Breaking down data and process silos to expand the R&D approach. Create a cross-functional cooperation between related departments and reduce jargon to assure true and effective communication.
- Adapting HR process to identify and support employees who are committed to OI, can interact with external contributors, and develop/demonstrate best practices.
- Utilizing OI management tools to track and assess submissions, protect IP, and follow through on the best concepts.
Ezassi’s Idea & Open Innovation Management Solution with IP Protection supports the organizational shift from a traditional culture to one that values and utilizes OI. We give you the tools to reach beyond your corporate boundaries to utilize untapped and amazing resources from around the globe. Contact us to learn more or request a free demonstration.