The Business Case for Open Innovation

Open innovation means better business.

Making the business case for open innovation can be an uphill climb. And to be fair, if you’ve got the best team, the best technology, and the best ideas, you might wonder why you need it. Here are just a few reasons open innovation is for everyone.

New Perspectives and Ideas

Any organization, however nimble it is, is only as innovative as the perspectives under its tent. That can make it tricky — especially when you’re pushing the outer limits of invention, to push ideas further — and it might also create blind spots. It’s difficult to see all the trees when you’re smack in the middle of the forest. Open innovation changes that by inviting new, fresh approaches to your industry and what you do. A broad, open-minded perspective helps you find places you’re not looking and can offer a global view it can be difficult to achieve otherwise.

Cost Savings

Innovation isn’t necessarily cheap. An idea can take years to come together, from the original concept to the testing to bringing it to market. But opening up your process and seeking out new perspectives might create opportunities to cut down on money and time costs that you might not have considered. New approaches to manufacturing, new technologies that have just come to market and may not have a high profile yet, new materials with mind-blowing potential, or even just simple changes to supply chains and manufacturing approaches can save you millions and turn around ideas faster than you could ever imagine.

Open innovation offers new perspectives.

Competitive Advantage

One of the fundamental truths of business is that the business that does not innovate, or innovates slowly at best, dies. Any company that rests on its laurels is likely to discover that those laurels are being pulled out from under them when they least expect it. But at the same time, innovating can be tough, expensive, or unrewarding. The more open your process is, however, the more minds you have working on your projects, and the clearer, smarter, and faster your innovations will become.

Stronger Customer Relations

Customers want to be heard, and your best customers are often those that speak with you the most. And frequently, products and services can come to market and stumble over unusual uses or ideas that perhaps you didn’t consider. In many cases, it will be your customers who come to you with ideas to make your product better for them, and any innovation system should bring those customers in and ask them questions. What do they want to see? Why do they use what you produce the way they do? This not only helps you refine your product, your customers know that you’re listening to them.

Futureproofing Your Business

Fifteen years ago, the idea that the music industry could even decline seemed impossible. The CD was ascendant, people were buying millions of albums a year, and the industry had a perfect business model that sold songs using radio hits, but to buy the song meant buying the album.

In 2017, the music industry has shrunk by billions of dollars because Apple figured out people wanted to buy songs, not albums. Open innovation ensures you’re futureproofing your business against sudden change, which will only come faster.

Open innovation is, in many ways, increasingly central not just to building new products, but staying competitive. So don’t hesitate; start an IdeaScale community.

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