The term, “open innovation,” was coined by Professor Henry Chesbrough. Chesbrough states that open innovation “assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as they look to advance their technology.”

OI differs from traditional internal corporate innovation strategies such as redirecting resources or crowdsourcing ideas. Open innovation is about creating an inflow of knowledge from outside as well as outflows of knowledge through collaboration. Below are several ways your organization can use OI to boost its success rate as well as a few tips.

Corporate Accelerators

Corporate accelerator programs tie early industry startups together with corporations. Typically, a corporate partner offers capital, office space and mentorship and the startups offer innovative services and products as well as new technologies and ways of working.

Corporations benefit from faster time to market for their new innovations as well as positive public relations, more engaged employees and exposure to emerging talent and technology.

Startups receive access to funding they may not otherwise have as well as distribution channels that offer them a greater chance at scaling. Startups also are able to tap into a larger customer base.

Public Challenges and Idea Rallies

A public challenge or idea rally is an open forum comprised of hundreds of customers, experts, and companies that come together to collaborate on a specific problem. Corporations benefit from these rallies or challenges as they are able to tap into customer knowledge, input, and synergies with outside providers.

Innovation Outposts

Large companies are able to tap into corporate innovation through innovation outposts. Innovation outposts can monitor companies and competitors for things like emerging threats and new technologies. When companies are able to detect these opportunities, they are often more quick to adapt to new technology.

Increase Your Chances of Success with These Tips

Whether you are running an open innovation challenge, an innovation competition, a co-creation or a hackathon, below are some pointers that will increase your chances of success with OI.

  • Choose the right crowd. Select participants that will have the right knowledge and experience to address questions you present.
  • Ask the right questions. Put out short, concise questions as they usually get the best responses.
  • Map out the process you plan to follow and identify goals. This enables participants to better know what they are getting into and so they can be certain from the get-go of how much time and energy is required of them. This also enables them to structure and plan when to participate and share.
  • Offer rewards and incentives. Whether you offer monetary prizes, such as gift vouchers or high-dollar rewards, or opportunities for personal or professional development, put rewards and incentives out there. People appreciate being appreciated. And it often drives valuable results.
  • Don’t let the ideas disappear into a vacuum. Set out with the right intentions to seriously consider all of the ideas shared to drive innovation in order to make positive change. Do not just follow through with asking ideas to satisfy some commitment made to your HR team.