Innovation & Trends

Open Innovation

By Stefan Lindegaard

Open innovation deals with the process of opening up to your innovation and inviting the outside world to help rethink how you launch new products and services onto the market. Henry Chesbrough, who invented the term, describes it like this:

"Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology"

— Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm, 2006.

Stefan Lindegaard, author, speaker and consultant, who focusses on open innovation, sees it as a “mindset” that companies should embrace:

" …a philosophy or a mindset that they should embrace within their organization. This mindset should enable their organization to work with external input to the innovation process just as naturally as it does with internal input"

— Kilde: Making Open Innovation Work, Stefan Lindegaard, 2011

Open innovation has created a new paradigm shift in relation to innovation, and more and more companies today gain advantages by opening their innovation process to users, customers, suppliers and in some cases even competitions.

The most important advantages

  • Faster development and launching of new products and services, which can yield increased turnover, market shares and profit.

  • More diverse innovation, resulting in more innovative possibilities.

  • Higher success rate when launching new products and services on account of a generally stronger innovation process and

  • Less risk, since uncertainty in relation to markets as well as technologies are shared with others.

What to do?

Stefan Lindegaard points out the following principles as essential for getting well underway with open innovation:

  1. Work out an innovation strategy that's adapted to the company’s overall strategic plan.

  2. Determine why the company needs open innovation and what types of external input are the most relevant to the company in the startup phase.

  3. Gain an overview of the most important current and potential collaborating partners and how to innovate with them.

  4. Determine the present strengths, weaknesses, possibilities and barriers internally in the company regarding the implementation of open innovation.

  5. Develop a communication strategy that creates a common language and provides internal as well as external stakeholders an understanding of this new approach to innovation.

  6. Point out – and educate – employees with the right understanding of open innovation and create an organizational unit which gets the opportunity to experiment its way to the right long-term structure.

  7. Create an innovation culture that comes from the knowledge that innovation in the future will happen in networks and in cooperation with external partners.

10 things that inhibit open innovation

  1. Lack of an innovation strategy.

  2. No definition of what innovation is.

  3. Too much focus on internal abilities/know-how.

  4. Too much focus on open innovation – alone.

  5. (Preferably, be able to combine open and closed innovation).

  6. Internal silos are too ingrown.

  7. Too much focus on ideas and not enough focus on people.

  8. Lack of a strong innovation culture.

  9. Innovation work focusses on technology or product.

  10. It's always the same people who work with innovation.

  11. Bosses and innovation managers underestimate the speed of change.