I am working on the development of a framework that looks into the corporate readiness for open innovation and helps corporate innovation teams focus their efforts for embracing and implementing open innovation.
I plan to make this work freely available on a creative common basis and thus it would be great to hear your feedback on my early ideas.
For your inspiration, you should check out this interesting website and collection of innovation tools developed by Engage // Innovate: Strategy Tools for the Next Generation.
The Big Why of Open Innovation
The first thing to look into is why a company wants to embrace open innovation. This might sound obvious, but once you start digging, I have learned that you can uncover several reasons for the why.
More important, this helps uncover whether the company has decided to embrace open innovation just to be a follower or whether they have some specific reasons for doing so. The latter is definitely preferred.
The Open Innovation Readiness Factor
This exercise will look into at the internal readiness factor for open innovation. It is inspired by this overview of people, process and culture in the Strategy Tools for Next Generation toolbox.
I am considering using the same three factors here, but the scoring items will be slightly different as here.
The people items will be similar.
On culture, we could ask into the state of the “not-invented-here” syndrome, strength of the networking culture, willingness to experiment, tolerance for failure and perceived success / failure of external engagements.
On process, we could ask into overall innovation strategy, process for working with external partners (initiation versus delivery), ability to extract use of social media for getting level of current external engagements, perceived success of external engagements
Any input on what questions to ask on internal open innovation readiness?
The External Readiness Overview
This exercise is similar to the above, but now we look at the external readiness factors. Here we could look into how ready the industry is for open innovation by identifying the strengths, weaknesses, current efforts and obvious future areas for open innovation.
The Open Innovation Challenges
The team responsible for making open innovation happen within a company has too many things to do and too few resources to attend them all. They need to identify the most important issues and prioritize them. This needs to happen with a short-, mid- and long-term focus.
Besides these three areas, I would also like to challenge the team to come up with a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) that can really stretch their ambitions for embracing open innovation. The team needs to consider how they can really make a difference.
This exercises builds upon the readiness exercises. The team engages in a brainstorm in which they think of all possible challenges. Once they are charted out on the wall, we start looking at common denominators and list this into 5-7 key challenges. They are then ranked into short, mid and long categories and thus they have an overview on where to focus.
An open innovation team can tap into many different value pools, but given their limited resources, they often end up being spread out too thin. They are better off if they limit their efforts to 2-4 value pools that are given full attention.
In this exercise, we identify 3 value pools with the best potential. We explain why they are the most relevant and we identify the best ways of engaging these value pools (direct interactions, portals, challenges, communities and/or something else).
A key objective of open innovation is to become – or to be perceived – as the preferred partner for innovation within the given industry. A strong communication strategy is vital for this to happen. Here we work on the key messages to be delivered for the employees (internal), the eco-system (external – general) and the selected value pools (external – specific). We also identify potential channels and platforms for this effort.
You might wonder why this framework does not focus on projects. I have decided not to include this element as the purpose of the framework is to help lay out the big picture related to embracing and implementing open innovation in larger companies. Working with projects would be a next step.
I look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas.