The “standard” scenario is that companies start small with open innovation. It is often just one guy charged to create some quick, small wins. If this works, more resources are added and a team with several people will be formed.
Projects like this are common to companies so there is no reason to worry in the short-term. It is actually a good thing in some ways as it forces people to work hard and smart to earn their resources.
On the other hand, it can also make the efforts more short sighted with the potential of damaging the long-term potential. To counter this, an open innovation leader must fairly quickly be able to convince the senior executives about the long-term potential in open innovation and secure some level of continuity in what his or her team does.
Besides budgets, there is also a challenge in getting the right people on board. A few years back, when open innovation was not as well known as it is today, it was difficult even hiring the right lead guy. They thought of this as too risky and as a potentially career-damaging move. This has changed for the better, but many industries are still new to open innovation and here this challenge still exists. The best way to deal with this is to educate more people – and in all ranks – about open innovation and identify the opportunities it can bring to the given company and industry. Hopefully, someone is willing to push such an effort…
Furthermore, there is an on-going challenge in identifying and developing the right people in almost any company. This is not just for open innovation, but for innovation in general. I have often argued that companies should focus more on the people side of innovation rather than just the ideas and the processes. Very true here…
I think this is an important topic for open innovation implementation and I hope my reflections can prompt you to share your insights and views on this. It would be great to hear this.
Stefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation