Getting Started With Open Innovation

Recent discussion on setting up a pilot project to demonstrate the potential value of open innovation, highlighting two key factors:

The first is leadership commitment to open innovation. By this, I mean is open innovation viewed as an experiment because the firm has not bought into the benefits of open innovation, or is this the first step on the path to transforming the way the firm does innovation? If it is an experiment, then the focus needs to be on quickly demonstrating the value of reaching broadly outside the firm to advance a current program forward. This will make the initial open innovation program  more project focused. If this is the first step on a broader transformation, then a larger scope that includes open innovation process, roles and responsibilities and metrics should be undertaken. These pieces can then be piloted and adapted as one learns and goes forward from the initial open innovation program.

Second is the size of the firm. If the firm is mid-sized with a centralized innovation organization then the scope of the program is a matter of how many people to involve and how many open innovation projects to launch. If the firm is a large, globally distributed organization, then the initial program can either be piloted in a single SBU or spread across a couple of SBU’s and then rolled out to the broader organization.

Pilot projects are important for building up confidence and understanding and for early identification of risks. As the author points out, getting a good balance of key factors is important in establishing convincing buy-in from all concerned.

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