Here are three key questions that I ask people to get them started thinking about how their company would benefit from using social media in their open innovation efforts:
• How many important innovation partners do you have within your corporate umbrella (across your business units)? This typically ranges from 10 – 300 with the latter being huge international companies.
• What would happen if these partners were able to interact with each other? Could this bring value to your company? The thing is that most companies only maintain one-to-one relationships with these partners. This is how it has been for ages, and many companies don’t see any reason to change this because they only focus on their own situation. However, as more and more innovation happens in communities and ecosystems, you need to begin looking beyond your own nose tip and find ways to connect your partners with each other. If this is done right, everyone will benefit. One benefit being that you create a better framework for disruptive innovation.
• How can you make this happen? Most people immediately start thinking about physical networks and properties here. Face-to-face interactions are important, but you need to understand that the virtual offerings (communities, virtual collaboration tools, social media, idea generation and management software) are getting more and more advanced. You need to develop a new mindset and new skills within your organization to tap into this potential.
I believe the visionaries – those who explore these questions and dare to look two years out trying to understand what could happen on the intersection of social media and open innovation – will have a good chance of being the future innovation winners.
This post is an excerpt from my latest book, Social Media for Corporate Innovators and Entrepreneurs: Add Power to Your Innovation Efforts. Click for a free download!