I met with a new client recently. It is an interesting and successful company that has decided to look further into open innovation and how this can help them become even more innovative.
As we introduced ourselves, the CTO noticed that open innovation is very hyped right now. This is not the first time I have heard this in the recent months and I agree. Open innovation is hyped. This is a hot topic at conferences, in blogs and articles and now it also seems to be catching fire within companies.
Hype is often a bad thing because things that are hyped tend to over-promise and under-deliver. This could very well also be the case with open innovation. However, the current hype is also a good thing.
In all fairness, most companies have plenty of room for improvement on their innovation efforts. Yes, this is a nicer way of saying that many companies are doing a poor job on this, but I really cannot write that, right? :–)
I believe the hype on open innovation brings even more attention to the struggles we have on innovation in general and I think the changes in mindset needed to embrace open innovation and adapt tools such as crowd-sourcing can help improve the corporate innovation capabilities.
It is, however, important that companies look beyond open innovation. In five to seven years time, we will not even talk about open innovation. It will just be about innovation, but by then it will have a much higher external element to it than what we see today. Some industries move faster than others, but this is the direction they are all headed towards.
So yes, open innovation is hyped, but if this hype can help convince executives, employees, companies and even industries to change – and improve – how they innovate, perhaps this is not such a bad thing.
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