In my last post I was discussing the effect digital would be having on our innovation activities, be these presently opened or closed. The impact of digital innovation changes the innovation paradigm significantly.
Organizations can stay digitally closed in their innovation activities, moving beyond simply developing innovation solutions themselves into a connected (closed) network, where the platform becomes the enabling force and those that join share common ground or purpose but are pursuing separate value propositions that required this ‘extended’ collaboration to achieve this position.
These ‘closed systems’ can give a level of competitive advantage but these are increasingly transitory depending on the complexity and uniqueness of the eventual value proposition. Collaborative platforms are clearly the way to go to open-up innovation that allows more radical and complex solutions to be provided.
Well then, are you going all digital on me from your innovation activities?
So there we all were, getting really very comfortable in our open innovation activities, learning to collaborate and co-create outside our organizations. Even our management has got “open innovation”.
We are encouraged and allowed to collaborate outside our four walls of the organization as the penny has finally dropped that “not all knowledge resides within the company”.
We had worked through some of the cultural stuff, shifted around the team who like to collaborate, pushing others less collaborative to the back; the conflict points, we had established the process, practice and tools.
We even have our legal teams on board helping sort out all the conflicting positions that open innovation can mean when it comes to dividing up the IP spoils and even had our leadership tuned in, singing our praises and even (heavens forbid) getting engaged in the process.
I am presently reading an early release draft of a book written by Mike Docherty of Venture2, on innovation, and I would certainly recommend the read when it comes out. The book Collective Disruption will be available as of February 2015.
The book as Mike wrote to me, is aimed at corporate leaders, both in large and small companies, charged with new sources of transformative growth and makes the case for co-creating new businesses with entrepreneurial partners. It builds on a foundation of open innovation, but is focused specifically on new business creation (vs core business support).
I know that Mike is passionate about the intersection of corporate innovation and entrepreneurship for co-creating new businesses and business models. As CEO of Venture2, a consulting and new ventures firm, he works with leading brand companies and start-ups to commercialize breakthrough new products and businesses.
We are coming up to nearly 10 years since Dr Henry Chesbrough wrote his first book on open innovation as the necessary business imperative. There has certainly been considerable progress in many business organizations to embrace this open collaborative principle.
“Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as their own internal ideas, and explore both internal and external paths to market. Firms need to look to advance their technology, resources, their knowledge and understanding through innovating with partners by sharing risk and sharing reward”.
Isn’t it strange that the very consultants expounding ‘open’ for innovation are as closed as ever? Why is this?
I would argue that the consulting industry specializing in providing innovation services is its own worst enemy today, by not being more open themselves. It is actually failing to recognize that this is inhibiting their own long-term prospects. Nearly all within the innovation consulting industry seem to be resolutely staying very internally driven, self- promoting, still trying to convey the story of their mastery, when clearly this is so painfully lacking from the results in growth by many of their clients from their existing innovation activities.
Due to this lack of openness they are failing their clients by not offering them leading and emerging practice advice. Yet the client is increasingly requiring more complete or holistic solutions, not from a ‘piecemeal of innovation offerings’ they are presently receiving. These separate pieces currently being offered by one group of consultants often don’t dovetail into a complete innovation system because they are supplemented by a variety of different service providers, all having their own ‘pet’ approaches, methodologies, techniques and tools. Continue reading →
Nobody said innovation was easy and I was reminded of that recently. Innovation can certainly be, without doubt, fairly complicated in larger organizations. What must not be forgotten is that we must manage the innovation activities across all the three horizons of innovation and that adds even more complexity.
What is ensured from this complexity is that you can expect innovation does get very entangled in balancing out the resources that are available and needed, to handle all the conflicting, competing demands placed within the innovation system. For the innovation teams involved in the multiple tasks, getting this balance right and also trying to justify further support to keep all the activities progressing on time, is tough. We need to exploit and we need to explore and those often require different mind-sets or structures.
Each of the innovation horizons can demand different management’s attention for allocation, response and focus. Horizon one represents the company’s core businesses today, horizon two includes the rising stars of the company that will, over time, become new core businesses, whereas horizon three consists of nascent business ideas and opportunities that could be future growth engines. This link takes you to a series of discussions on the three horizons http://tinyurl.com/d97bkhh for a deeper explanation.
I always find thoughtful lists as extremely helpful to prompt my thinking on different issues. It often helps to unblock my own thinking. This one is for open innovation.
One such list I compiled from mainly two sources on roadblocks to open innovation. The main source was Dr Brian Glassman. He wrote a paper “Open Innovation’s Common Issues & Potential Roadblocks with Dr Abram Walton. (http://www.innovationtools.com/PDF/OI_issues_and_roadblocks.pdf) and different thoughts that I found as well worked through. The other source to make up this list was from P&G’s experiences gleened from different sources. Together I feel they make for a solid list of roadblocks or issues to think through. Let me share these:
Firstly the core need or use of open innovation
Generating ideas for new products and services
Solve technical problems that are vexing or to complicated or expensive to solve internally
Co-development of difficult problems, services, products, technologies
Although open innovation has been around for some years, it is in the past three to four years the notion of open innovation has accelerated and moved very much and becoming embedded into the structure of many organizations.
Presently most organizations are dealing with the roadblocks surrounding open innovation either internally within their own structures or with the potential partners that they want to work with, for a more diverse innovation portfolio.
Arguably open innovation will merge into simply a way of doing innovation, then into something more specific. For me that is more into a collaboration and co-creation innovative approach I touch upon further into this article
Today we are broadly at a maturing stage of OI. In summary you could say:
I have been looking forward to this book; it addresses one of the most important areas of innovation that we have, the service sector. In this last week I have been reading Professor Henry Chesbrough’s new book “Open Services Innovation: Rethinking your business to grow and compete in a new era”, published by Jossey-Bass, released last week on 18th January.
Services are critical to understand and focus upon, for our continued economic growth, for the ability to offer often distinct and unique competitive advantage, as well as provide much of our future employment opportunities, especially crucial in the Western economies. Services today comprise roughly 80% of economic activity in the United States, and 60% of economic activity in the top forty economies of the world (source OECD).
After reading this book a couple of times I must admit I had a set of very mixed emotions.