The future of Open Innovation looks bright!

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on March 1, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 4.45.05 PMThanks to all of you who came to CoDev2015 last week in Scottsdale! It was a truly collaborative and forward-thinking gathering of innovators, with an extraordinary amount of knowledge and willingness to share. We came away with many new insights, and we greatly appreciate everyone’s openness.

As Rosemary Pennington of J.M. Smucker Company, put it “the networking was extremely beneficial…we shared with peers and competitors in a non-threatening way, became each other’s coaches and mentors in the process. There were roughly 15 different presenters and I came away with at least 1 nugget from each, so I got 15 nuggets. Most conferences I get one—total. CoDev was well worth my time and investment.”

For those of you who missed it, I’d like to share a brief recap of the highlights and invite you to join us next year.

Throughout the three-day event, we discussed the key OI success factors for today’s global business climate — from strategic alignment, culture, processes, and impact measures to managing collaborative networks and creating healthier ecosystems.

We learned:

Strategy: It is critical to have a clear ‘need’ definition process, with a prioritized list of scoutable needs aligned to business strategy. Needs must be written for both confidential and non-confidential use.

Culture: Leverage early ‘wins’ to drive change. Involve cross functional perspectives early on. Be sure to include HR, Legal and Procurement. Use a trial and scale-up approach to build capabilities. Communicate often, both internally and externally.

Processes and Tools: Tools and processes are enablers, not an end in themselves. Implement a flexible process from need identification into your stage-gate development process. Establish market potential and feasibility assessment criteria, approval & funding checkpoints, and pathways for dialog. Monitor and adapt as needed.

Ecosystems: Having “know-who” is far more effective than just having “know-how,” and new channels yield new solutions.  But that’s not enough.  Finding and implementing new solutions requires thoughtful planning, communication and willingness to take risks. Collaborative networks are more dynamic and interconnected than traditional hub & spoke structures.  –

We then integrated our learnings and mapped out action steps to apply back at our organizations. Overall there was a positive energy among the 130+ participants — that Open Innovation has reached a turning point which will result in much higher returns going forward.  Steve Franz, VP Global R&D,Rich Products summed it up: “Since the last time I attended ten years ago, an amazing transformation has taken place. Back then the discussion was around barriers preventing Open Innovation from happening. Now we have figured out how to manage the barriers and have success stories.  We are getting into the value proposition.”

The future of OI looks bright indeed and we hope you will join us at CoDev 2016 in sunny Scottsdale next winter.  Watch our website, LinkedIn group and Facebook page for news and updates.




Walk instead of drive? A billboard that cheers your eco-mindedness

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on February 27, 2015

Here’s an innovation and an inspiration: A billboard that cheers you on if you choose to walk, jog or run instead of drive:

This idea might just catch on. You can add it to the list of innovative billboards that can make clean drinking water, track air quality, house the homeless, and advertise art instead of products.

Fast company has the story here. Just click on the billboard:

Fast Company: Billboard

Hand held 3D Printer has interesting applications

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on February 27, 2015

I’ve been watching the evolution of 3D printing technology over the past several years, and came across this interesting video of a hand-held prototype.

Read more here and watch the video:

6 sustainable innovation and design trends to watch

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on February 25, 2015

free photo green innovationI spotted this via GreenBiz, and I think we can glean some general trends to watch this year:

Over the last 20 years, businesses have played their part in the increasing global discussion of climate change and how to adapt to it. Resource efficiency and security have moved up the policy and business agenda, and the more recent discussions have been reframed under the circular economy banner.

From a relatively small number of green niche players and a few leaders in the manufacturing sector implementing eco-design in the early to mid-1990s, we have seen a broadening of the sectors and stakeholders engaged in the “greening” of products. However, most of the focus is still on eco-design rather than sustainable design, and product-related environmental compliance rather than innovation or new business models.

Sustainable innovation continues to move up the business agenda. But what will it look like this year?

1. Smarter city activities will start to factor in the people/social dimension alongside innovation and technology

The concept of smart cities and regions has emerged over the last decade. It’s been predicted that 70 percent of the world’s population will move to urban areas by 2050, which will mean that we are likely to see a rise of more powerful city-states or city-regions.

As a result, cities easily could become hotbeds for sustainability problems but if people, networks, technology, innovation and information are engaged, mobilized and marshalled appropriately, cities have the potential to become platforms and catalysts for new resource-efficient and low-carbon solutions. Engaging people in new visions is key.

2. Eco-innovation will continue to broaden and become more pervasive

Policy thinking on eco-innovation is moving towards a more horizontal view, based on a pervasive “greening” of industry, and the development of a diverse array of eco-innovative products, services and technologies.

This is reinforced by policy makers starting to explore more systemic approaches to eco-innovation and recognizing the limited impact that existing policies have had; for example, delivering only incremental environmental improvements.However, grassroots innovation interest is also starting to increase on the ground.

3. Pressure for action on climate change will re-emerge as we move towards the climate summit in Paris in November

Increasing resilience and adapting to climate change as well as developing low-carbon, resource-efficient solutions are being hand-wired into future European policy scenarios. But we will see a re-emergence of citizen engagement in the debate. There is likely to be increasing activity by civil society groups as we move towards the Paris summit, with increased awareness through growing media interest after the summer.

4. Circular economy proposals will re-emerge from Brussels with more of a business slant

There will be continued discussion around the need to make products more circular. Circular economy proposals are likely to re-emerge from the European Commission with more of a business focus. Leading companies are implementing products that are designed for disassembly or for up-cycling but are finding a lack of infrastructure, knowledge, network and skills to support these initiatives.

There will be more discussion over standards and terminology, and over the proactive role of design in moving towards a circular economy. The number of repair cafes and re-use centers are likely to increase and we will see a growing interest in economic, environmental and social benefits of remanufacturing.

5. Grassroots innovation activity will continue to grow focused on making, mending and fixing

Green growth is permeating global policy thinking; however, grassroots innovation is emerging from civil society and entrepreneurs rather than from government, big businesses or NGOs.

Making, modification, mending and fixing are being driven by a new “do it” spirit and the public has increased access to information and ideas as well as new tools such as 3D printing being used to produce parts to enable repair. The growth of places and spaces for this has enabled more experimentation and the potential for more circular manufacturing.

Stronger grassroots innovation is emerging through people power, which has been facilitated by social networks and ICT. You can see this in the growing trend of crowdsourcing ideas and funding, such as Kickstarter, and the rise of makers, modifiers and fixers.

6. Open green innovation will increase focused on completion, crowdsourcing, crowd-funding and opening-up green patents

Open innovation and crowdsourcing approaches break down potential boundaries to setting up new eco-innovative businesses and enable those with ideas to reach people quicker. As a result, they’re being used to co-create new businesses where collaboration and partnership are essential to success.

Developing and building relationships and trust will be increasingly recognized as central principles to co-creation. The number of companies using open green innovation is likely to increase, building on pioneers such as Unilever.



Posted by Pat Clusman on February 23, 2015


Hopefully you had an opportunity to attend the CoDev 2015 conference in Scottsdale, Arizona with us. If not, you missed one of the best CoDev conferences ever! This year, we saw how many companies are defining and implementing new business models to deliver growth through Open Innovation. There were a variety of models discussed and if we learned anything, it was that no one model fits all.

More companies are looking outside their boundaries for ideas, technologies and intellectual property, and they are working internally to integrate across functions to drive commercialization. It was very evident at the conference that the “what” of the solution is more important than “where” and “who” it comes from. Fostering collaboration with customers, suppliers, end users and employees is becoming a way of doing business at many companies that delivers growth and new revenue sources.

Numerous presenters spoke about the benefits of Open Innovation and Co-Development in their companies. Through OI they were able to extend their reach and capability for new ideas and technologies; conduct strategic experiments at lower levels of risk and resources; and overtime, they were able to evolve to a more innovative culture, from the outside–in.

Of course, there were challenges highlighted as well like gaining alignment top down and bottom up; finding the dollars and resources to fund OI activities; predicting the optimal level of openness; defining the “right” business model and deal structure; and defining what to measure.

Over the last several years, it has become evident that companies have been focused on open innovation culture, leadership, process and structure and they are now becoming more focused on talent and metrics. We like to call this the “who” and the type leader you need to drive success. We all learned a lot in this area from our peers at CoDev 2015. Reach out to us at Innovationedge if you would like to learn more.

If you’re involved in innovation, open innovation, co-development or partnership management, you owe it to yourself and your company to be part of the Open Innovation and CoDev community. Join the LinkedIn group and make plans now to attend the next CoDev Conference to network with your peers and extend your personal network.

Pat Clusman the Chief Operating Officer at Innovationedge and he was a member of the CoDev 2015 conference planning team. Check out CoDev2015: Launching Products and Business with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, held February 9-11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ.


15, a CEO, and a caring young lady with vision

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on February 20, 2015

Fast Company

I saw this incredible story at Fast Company: Do you remember what you were doing when you were 15? Lillian Pravda is 15, and she is the CEO of a non-profit that has brought free vision care to over 24,000 children in need.
WATCH here:


Rollcall: Who is joining us for #CoDev2015?

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on January 31, 2015

10 days

We are counting down the days until we head for Scottsdale and CoDev! It’s the longest running and most respected forum on Open Innovation. Will you be joining us? There is still time to sign up:

Check out our incredible lineup of speakers and the topics:


Visit our blog to listen to our webinar encores and check out what some of our panelists and keynotes have to say!



Filed Under: CoDev

Defining the Insight-Driven Scoutable Need

Posted by Pat Clusman on January 24, 2015

Technology scouting free photo

Integral to more advanced company’s open innovation initiatives is a robust technology scouting function. Technology scouting can be regarded as a capability or resource to identify emerging technologies, funnel technology related information into the company and support the acquisition of technologies. The technology scouting function often deploys seasoned research and/or technology professionals to conduct research and explore solutions based on defined needs.

The likelihood of success for the technology scouting effort is often determined by how well the need is defined. Taking the right steps and spending the time upfront to define an insight driven scoutable need, will foster better solution discovery. Definition of an insight driven need versus a technology push will ultimately yield better solutions.

In today’s business environment, we have a lot of data, information and knowledge housed in our systems and in our people. The key is to mine the data and information and build on the collective knowledge to develop true insights. Insight is the ability to see clearly and intuitively into the nature of a complex situation, subject, person or need. If we can truly understand and articulate the need, something required because it is essential or very important, then we can develop an insight driven need that becomes scoutable.

The better job done defining the insight driven scoutable need, the more likely we are to find potential solutions to drive superior business results. Providing real insights, and not just data dumps, about the marketplace, the service, the customer, the shopper and/or the consumer, provides a more actionable way to scout for solutions. Potential technologies and solutions can be identified that address the insight driven need rather than identifying technologies and then looking for a problem to solve.

The ongoing need for companies to develop new product offerings, services, and solutions and explore new business fields requires capabilities and experience to develop insight driven needs, scout and identify the potential solutions, and develop them into viable business propositions to help them succeed in the marketplace.

Pat Clusman the Chief Operating Officer at Innovationedge and he is a part of the CoDev 2015 conference planning team. Check out CoDev2015: Launching Products and Business with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, to be held February 9-11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Webinar Encore: Forging CoDev Relationships with your Supplier Community

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on January 22, 2015

Highlighted sessions from the CoDev 2014 webinar series are available on-demand and can be viewed at a convenient time of your choice. See the bottom of this post for a complete list of available webinars.


Today’s highlighted session is:

Forging CoDev Relationships with your Supplier Community

supplierWhat can firms do to break out of the mold and form a truly innovative customer/supplier relationship that delivers technology to the marketplace. Accessing innovation from suppliers is not a new idea. For decades firms have used supplier challenges, win balancing, preferred supplier relationships and strategic alliances. While these efforts have had some success, the challenges remain.

How do firms:

  • Identify enabling supplier technologies 3-5 years out;
  • Encourage suppliers to focus their technical efforts in key areas of the firm’s business interests;
  • Jointly develop and co-create enabling technology;
  • Identify the factors that motivate suppliers to allocate their best technology to customer firms

Join Dr. Slowinski as he shares his 20 years of CoDev experience. He will describe the tools and techniques leading firms use to move their supplier relationships from “drop your price a penny a pound” to “let’s change the nature of competition in our industry.”



Dr. Gene Slowinski

Dr. Gene Slowinski

Gene Slowinski is the Director of Strategic Alliance Research at the Graduate School of Management, Rutgers University and Managing Partner of the Alliance Management Group, a consulting firm devoted to the formation and management of strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions. Prior to forming the Alliance Management Group, he held management positions at AT&T Bell Labs and Novartis. For the last 25 years Dr. Slowinski has consulted and conducted research on the formation and management of strategic alliances, joint ventures, mergers, and acquisitions. He is co-author of the book “The Strongest Link” and his most recent book, “Reinventing Corporate Growth” is the leading book on growing the corporation.

When you fill out the form to view this webinar, you will also be able to select from the following additional webinars:

  • 3M’s Aggressive Innovation Approach with Supplier Partnerships
  • Global Open Innovation: Establishing Technology Scouting in Multinational Corporations
  • Forging CoDev Relationships with your Supplier Community
  • IP Strategies in an Open Innovation Environment
  • CoDev and OI Practitioner’s Panel
  • Enhancing Idea Generation Through Collaboration
  • Open Innovation Practitioner’s Perspective: H.B. Fuller
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Insourcing & Outsourcing Design & Development: Creating Supplier-Led Innovation


Filed Under: CoDev

Open Innovation Success Factors – A Leading Practitioner’s View of CoDev

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on January 20, 2015

Recently my friend Jackie Cooper over at Management Roundtable shared her brief chat with George Wells, Global Portfolio Lead, Nestle S.A.-PetCare, and I am pleased to share her insights here with you as we prepare for CoDev 2015:
Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.33.37 AM

George Wells, Nestle

George Wells, Nestle

Until now, our series on Open Innovation Leadership has featured interviews with leading experts. This time, I decided to talk with a leading practitioner to hear from the ‘trenches’ what it takes to succeed in OI, and how attending CoDev may have contributed.

George Wells of Nestle S.A.-PetCare has attended CoDev three times. He recently advanced from his role as Director of Technology Transfer to his current position of Global Portfolio Lead– a shift in responsibilities from in-licensing, sourcing, and managing transactions to brand marketing for the Global Strategic Business Unit.

What I was most curious to hear from George was whether or not he implemented insights gained at CoDev, and if so, what were the results. Here is what he shared:

JC: What were your most significant goals and reasons for attending CoDev? And what were your takeaways?

GW: My main goals were around search and long-term relationships. At CoDev, I was able to connect with others from similar type companies, find out about new trends, and hear what’s working. One major takeaway for me was references to specific suppliers that people had experience with.

JC: Did you end up implementing anything you heard or using recommended suppliers – and what were the results?

GW: Yes, we did go with the supplier referrals and had great results! When it comes to open innovation you only have one chance to get it right — having recommendations from others not only helped make better decisions, these decisions were then received much better internally.

JC: How have your responsibilities and objectives changed in your new position? What do you see as most important to OI success going forward?

GW: Basically I have moved to a more market-facing role. Linking Business to Research has always been important to open innovation success, now I am working toward that goal from a different angle. There’s a big world out there – and globalization is my focus; figuring out market needs, identifying gaps – what it is people really want. Open innovation is an enabler to close those gaps.

JC: What should attendees look to take away from this year’s conference?

GW: I love Open Innovation and meeting like-minded people. What’s cool about CoDev is all the head-nodding you see in the audience, everybody can relate to each other. Look to meet others from similar – and other – industries, and those who have worked through challenges similar to your own. The smaller sessions and networking are especially beneficial. The open innovation journey isn’t always easy. CoDev has provided support unlike anywhere else.

Filed Under: CoDev