Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Trends for Open Innovation, Co-Creation and Crowdsourcing

We, at ideaken, have been keeping a watch on the new trends in open innovation and Crowdsourcing, while the clear definitions and the trends are still far from arrived, following is our take on what they should convey and stand for.

Open innovation is a systematic inflow of external know how to accelerate enterprise innovation, resulting in a new or improved products, services, or processes, and therefore increase in market share. (Derived from and with due acknowledgement to Dr. Henry Chesbrough)

Co-creation with Co-workers is an act of innovating with the help of employees who are officially not designated as ‘Innovator’ in your enterprise.

Innovation Competition is a simplest form of Open Innovation, executed as one off or at yearly interval for an intellectual connect, market advancement and diverse innovative ideas.
We find following as philosophy and trends being acknowledged in general.

1.  “Can't ignore open innovation” - Most companies agree that open innovation is a definite plus to their R&D efforts and they can't simply afford to ignore it anymore.  Type in “open innovation” and company name of your choice in Google to see for yourself. Though confidentiality and IP related questions still remain the primary concerns, we also see that some of these concerns dilute substantially after processes and best practices followed by companies using open innovation successfully are discussed.

2.  “Collaboration, not Competition, is the way forward” – We believe this statement misrepresents the underlying thoughts more often than not. The world is too big and too complex to put  ‘collaboration’ against  ‘competition’. The real future is in right sequencing and benefit from both. For example you might decide to identify opportunities using  a consortium based approach, followed by close collaboration with a select few as it is not possible to collaborate with infinite number of individuals or organizations and do justice to all parties.  True technology advancement can happen at the intersection of competition as a reason and collaboration as an enabler. 

3.  “Innovation as a branding strategy” – We believe we are going to see more of this going forward. It helps in two ways - first it communicates to potential customers that the company is committed and serious about improving its products and services. Secondly it pushes the company to deliver on the innovativeness image they have been portraying for themselves!

4.  “Innovation for engagement” - This is yet to be tried more widely but has been used quite successfully in Information Technology industry, where candidates are given puzzles or tough challenges as a means to shortlist for recruitment.  There's an opportunity to drive innovation by this means.  We foresee a future where companies would pose their tough open innovation challenges to students and recruit based on responses.  Employees recruited via this route can then drive those  projects to completion.

Check out for your Open Innovation, Co-Creation and Crowdsourcing needs.