3 Questions to Form a Blueprint for Open Innovation

3770015203_e148607973_oThere are many different kinds of innovation programs. Open innovation is based on the principles elucidated by Henry Chesbrough; the concept of open innovation postulates that there are no barriers to collaboration, communication, innovation, or ideation. The success of these programs often depend on knowing each program and its goals in advance. To understand what kind of innovation programs might be best fitted to a particular company, some of those questions include:

1. What are the key goals of the program? Obviously, the process of innovation can impact many bottom lines. Is a company most interested in generating new revenue and cost savings, or is it interested in discovering program efficiencies, or working to develop new products and offerings. The list of things that a company can innovate on seems to be endless.

2. Who are the key players in the innovation program? Is everyone down to the janitor included or is there a special, dedicated innovation group within the company? Sometimes even special short-term committees are developed on an ad hoc basis. Deciding how much a company is willing to invest helps companies find the line between short term and ongoing innovation.

3. Should the crowd be invited to contribute to open innovation or should the contributing voices be limited to a small group of participants? Defining what group is being invited to contribute helps broaden the possible participation in any given engagement. Asking an audience with relevant knowledge or rolling the dice and asking as broad a group as possible – both can have valuable rewards.

These questions, of course, only lay the groundwork. They generate further questions that need more particular and personal answers. Questions like:

-What are the metrics that define program success? Is it about the number of members who contributed or number of ideas implemented? This is often related to the specific goals that have already been defined.

-How often should a company communicate with the group and in what way? Some companies communicate every day, some every two weeks. Some only encourage their moderators to comment on existing ideas, others think that the pot should be stirred by adding new ideas of their own on a regular basis.

-What is the process of moderation and implementation? Obviously innovation only begins by collecting inspiration from the crowd, from there it is crucial to begin making good on those changes. This requires a whole range of skills: communications, marketing, project management, prototyping , and much, much more.

If you’d like to know more about open innovation and the best practices that develop around a successful innovation program, feel free to join guests Chip Gliedman from Forrester Research and the Yale Innovation Team as they discuss what programs and processes have worked in various contexts in tomorrow’s complimentary webinar. Register today.

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