Open innovation is the go-to strategy of the decade! As leaders try to be more innovative in the workplace, they look to external partners, universities and their networks to meet their growing demands for innovation across all areas of their business.

I believe that open innovation is the strategy that will determine whether or not a business succeeds in the 21st century. Open Innovation in its simplest form is the introduction of something new that will create economic value by leveraging someone else’s capabilities. Open Innovation is not a goal—it’s a mechanism and enabler to achieve a business goal, and it goes beyond a company’s capabilities, products and services. It can be about a company leveraging an externally driven business model or processes, how it taps a partner to engage with customers and services its brands. So open innovation is not just about the what, it’s about the how—how entrepreneurs or corporations or universities leverage partnerships and/or networks to deliver on their final product solutions.

Some people are inherently wired to think beyond their own brick and mortar to find innovation, but that mode of thinking also can be encouraged. An organization that wants to encourage open innovation needs to focus on two things: creating the right culture and developing the right processes, which includes offering the right incentives. If an organization doesn’t reward an open culture and behavior, it won’t stimulate open innovation.

Open innovation is so important now because people are being asked to innovate with less resources both time and money. To operate in this challenging environment, it is important that open innovation efforts start with strategy on how to create competitive advantage with their open innovation efforts. Once defined they should create a road map to determine which important tasks they need to do this year versus next year versus the following year. Lastly, they should get stakeholder alignment on the change process. Many times, organizations have open Innovation opportunities , but they don’t manage the change necessary with key stakeholders. They don’t provide enough communication or explain what the changes will mean to each stakeholder. An organization has to manage change from day one, or it won’t happen successfully.

A great deal of business strategies today are being built around collaborative networks, because no single company has all the smart people they needs within their own walls. An organization might have a solid strategy for today, but if it wants to plan for the next five years or more it should find partners on the outside to deliver solutions better, faster and cheaper.

Therefore, I think the most successful OI strategies are happening around business models where companies come together to share the risk and the revenue. Come to CoDev 2015 and see for yourself how OI business model are changing the industries you work in today!


Cheryl Perkins is chair of CoDev 2015. Check out CoDev2015: Launching Products and Businesses with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, to be held February 9 – 11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ.

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