Too often, when companies start out with their open innovation efforts, they focus too much on external elements. This could evolve around questions such as:
Which external sources should we tap into (customers, suppliers, academics, other partners)? What platform should we use to harness external ideas/input? What kind of campaign should we develop (short burst or longer time)? How should we reward external contributors?
Of course, this is relevant, but you need to remember that when it comes to open innovation, the real work happens behind the scenes. If you have trouble with internal innovation (which is often due to the lack of a clear innovation mandate and strained innovation processes), you can be sure it will get even more messy once you start inviting external contributors into the equation.
Sometimes corporate innovators need to take a deep breath and re-asses their innovation capabilities. It might be worthwhile in the long run to spend more time tapping further into their internal resources (there are often plenty of ideas here) and establish processes that better allow them to take an idea to revenue (whether the idea comes from the inside or the outside). Once this work well, it will be easier to integrate external input.
You can find some good insights on how to approach open innovation in this post by Jeff Bellairs, General Mills: Five Tips to Jumpstart an Open Innovation Program
This is just a reminder to myself – and others. Perhaps you should check out these other short reminders?