Opening up to innovation

Open innovation is recognised as producing newer and better products and services faster and at lower cost. But given the business world’s inclination to compete more than cooperate, many companies struggle to adopt this more inclusive form of innovation.

Intellectual property, complexity, culture, resources and risk are common barriers to open innovation. Add to that, limited understanding about what innovation is, what it’s intended to achieve, and how it aligns with or informs a company’s broader objectives. All legitimate concerns.

Innovation is inherently unpredictable and brings uncertainty, ambiguity and nonstandard processes – things which most companies prefer to avoid, and even more so when it happens in a public or open forum. However, innovation that only occurs behind closed doors with a handful of stakeholders is innovation limited.

Innovation is inherently unpredictable and brings uncertainty, ambiguity and nonstandard processes

And while it may bring risk – perceived or real – open innovation brings many benefits. Costs and speed aside, the most exciting component of open innovation is connection: the opportunity to bring people together. Open innovation is a means to connect people around a common area of interest – whether that be coming together to solve a problem, to create improvements, or simply to share insights. Open innovation provides diversity, transparency and visibility, it brings opportunity.

As technology continues to pervade modern life, so too does the importance of real and meaningful connections. The evidence already exists about how open innovation creates value, what is yet to be proven is the willingness of companies to truly embrace a more distributed and networked business model – one that no only encourages innovation but invites everyone to participate in the process.

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