Not so long ago, innovation in the corporate world mostly happened secretly inside guarded walls. The dominating mindset was that “we know best” and the “not invented here” culture was the prevailing one. Companies really believed that the best people worked for them – or they would try to hire them. Most people were happy because this approach to innovation worked. Not perfectly, but it worked well enough for most people not to challenge it.
This is no longer the case.
A group of visionary corporate innovators did not believe in the status quo. They started to explore the idea of bringing external contributions to their innovation processes in a structured way. This was a challenge as there were lots of skeptics wanting to keep the status quo including executives who were not too keen on opening up on an increasingly critical business capability.
Our visionary people kept pushing on. They experimented. They failed. They succeed. They shared their insights with other corporate innovators across industries and thus they learned from each other. Sometimes they even learned together with their competitors. As they kept pushing on, they began to see the power of opening up the innovation process. It could bring more diversity, more opportunities to their innovation engine and thus they could bring better innovation to market faster.
Today, many others pay attention to the work done by these visionary people. We read about their work in books, we attend conferences to hear them share their insights and their companies have become preferred partners of choice within their industries when it comes to innovation. On an individual level, many of these visionary people get new jobs on a higher level even in this tough business climate. They have strong insights and capabilities on the future of innovation and thus they are sought-after by many.
I am glad to see that these visionary people and their companies reap the benefits of their hard work in unknown territory. They brought us a paradigm-shift when it comes to innovation and because of them, the whole world will benefit as we get better innovation to market faster.
Let’s pay a tribute to those visionary people who challenged the status quo and inspired so many other companies to change the way to innovate.