How do you build a solid foundation for breakthrough OI?   Six big ideas:

quick-tipsI am seeing more companies realize they need to innovate from the outside in. They recognize growth requires doing new things, not working on the same things competitors are working on. They can no longer just discover, develop and ship to create value nor do they have all the smart people within their walls to create and control all IP.

Therefore, they are laying the foundation for sustainable growth, ensuring their ability to leverage OI best practices on new playing fields with new partnerships and new co-creation strategies. Forward-thinking innovators, like those at Amway, Goodyear and Mondelez, know that successful co-development and outsourcing is built on a solid foundation of people with the right skills doing the right things in the right environment.

I suggest six big ideas to make that happen in your organization:

  1. Be visible with top-down support and strive for continuous alignment between individuals and disciplines. Open innovation cannot be achieved without making sure all employees and disciplines are on the same page, understand and embrace the vision, and work together to achieve it.
  2. Create a framework and related toolbox ranging from need identification to deal-structuring. Include criteria to assess opportunities and market potential, charter cross-functional teams and checkpoints for approval, resources, and funding embedded throughout the open innovation process.
  3. Make smart choices but take smart risks. Smart choices will keep you out of trouble, smart risks will keep you competitive and on the cutting edge of innovation. Learn how to balance the two.
  4. Leverage early ‘wins’ to drive internal culture change. Like most individuals, it’s hard to have faith in a cause without seeing some immediate results. Make sure you share even the smallest successes with the entire organization to keep morale high and begin the culture changes.
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Informed people can move faster, make smarter decisions, and act with more confidence knowing they operate in a culture where information isn’t rationed.
  6. Above all else, be courageous and persistent. Successful innovation takes time – and so does open innovation when you leverage capabilities and competencies from outside your own four walls.

Once you have these building blocks in place, you can lead your organization into new uncharted territory with confidence.


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