What actions should an innovation unit take on the intersection of social media and open innovation? This is a question that I hear more often and it would be great to have a discussion on this.
I recently wrote a piece on the three circles for open innovation in which I argue that corporate innovation units should not only focus their efforts on the open innovation ecosystem in which open innovation actually happens. They should also focus on the thought leadership aspect, which happens in the innovation community and the interactions that can take place with customers and consumers.
Having this in mind, I suggest that companies should strive to become the preferred partner of choice within their innovation ecosystems. This status can be achieved by facilitating a community that is acknowledged as a key innovation resource by relevant innovation partners in business areas that are important to the company.
The status can be build on three elements: 1) a company-controlled platform/website (think a mix of the above examples) that functions of as the hub of the community and shows their innovation needs/assets, 2) thought leadership activities through social media channels and 3) physical events that allow the community members to meet face-to-face.
We need to remember that physical nor virtual activities cannot stand by themselves. They need to be integrated with each other.
What are the short-term actions (0-6 months) that a company should look into?
I suggest that a company should look into these actions:
• Build an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses related to achieving the vision
• Develop a better understanding of social media tools and how they can be used
• Identify internal and external members and form a team that can help the company become more visible through social media tools
• Identify key target people for the community (might already be done in earlier work)
• Develop a process for creating relevant content and develop a strategy on how to share this content
• Develop a strong story line for upcoming communication efforts (communication will be a key element internally as well as externally)
• Identify the key obstacles on developing a company-controlled platform/website and begin lobbying in order to overcome these obstacles (most often internally)
• Identify and secure speaking slots at relevant conferences
• Identify key influencers within the innovation community and within the innovation ecosystems and develop a strategy on how to “influence” them
What are the mid-term actions (6-12 months)?
Besides a continued development of the short-term actions, a company should:
• Launch beta-version of a company-controlled platform/website
• Develop a format for physical events and begin hosting events
• Educate senior executives on open innovation in general and the intersection of social media tools and open innovation in particular (goal = one or more senior executives join the team)
What are the long-term actions (12-24 months)?
Besides a continued development of the above actions, a company should launch a full-feature company-controlled platform/website and continuously explore ways of developing this into a strong community.
These are some of my ideas on a road map on the intersection of social media tools and open innovation efforts. It is work in progress.
What do you think? What would you add?