Open For Innovation: Orchestrating the Meeting of Technological Minds

Date:   Wednesday , December 21, 2016

Headquartered in California, Ideapoke is an open crowd sourcing platform that enables the businesses to solve their business problems by posting real world business challenges to seek innovative solutions quickly & cost effectively from a global talent pool.

With a year of changes storming the world, embracing change has become the new norm for maintaining market advantage, be it services or the innovative product industry. Change has caught momentum from variant directions. This demands innovation through R&D and more importantly, needs a solid intellectual property strategy to strengthen competitive advantages. Be it advanced manufacturing of products or prototyping, the next big product requires breaking of traditional silos and embrace collaborative business ecosystems to connect, understand, improvise and create potential outcomes we can just imagine. Open Innovation assumes a partnership and the \'big-picture\' approach.

Disruptive innovations have been proven to be more challenging than that of a sustained innovation approach. Revolutionary mindset rather than evolutionary approach is the current desire of enterprises as creation of a new market and value network helps disrupt a market and meet a new generation of consumers. Not only that, it displaces market leaders, even if it\'s a fraction.

Open Innovation Strategy: Plain Simple Truth

NASA\'s decision to make its patent portfolio available publicly has already invited heated discussions. Making it available cost free and to all inventors and entrepreneurs has implicated results far beyond investor relationships and would change the world as we know it, both businesses and citizens of the world alike.

Even though companies are embracing the concept of open innovation, due to the lack of a sound strategy, many are resulting in a near miss. When it comes to the application of this very concept, where to begin is the hardest question. Many technology partnerships have failed resulting in costly and unusable ideas, and when you bring in the IP related litigation, it has resulted in a time consuming venture as well. It is the uncertainty that leads to inaction and poor results. Taking a strategic approach and astutely deploying open innovation models for different business enterprises over time has made us realize that it needs a different approach entirely.

The plain simple truth is that open innovation as a concept cannot be adopted as a strategy in itself. Different types of projects will, and can require completely different modes of execution depending on how much the existing companies are opening up their R&D efforts to the outside and also on how we can manage knowledge sharing and the transfer of existing technology. Moreover, it takes the will to innovate and help co-creators in the industry to find the right tools and make their way.

Much like NASA\'s Daniel Lockney, Technology Transfer Program Executive said to room full of entrepreneurs at UCF\'s business incubator in Research Park, \"Why reinvent the wheel? NASA is right in your backyard offering you those tools\". Thereby helping entrepreneurs use space technology as tools to turn into their next big product.

Or take Google, who recently announced backing the Delta State open hackathon 2016 wherein, the planned event will engage Nigerian youths on the challenges of sustainable development goals of the UN and try and help with Information technology to resolve the issues from perspectives of critical needs and solutions for African countries. Admittedly, a meeting of the technological minds is absolutely necessary beyond business aspirations to get these campaigns going.

Adopting Open Innovation

There are pretty outgoing benefits of Open innovation; the primary being the broadening of the search for solutions by looking for them in the outside world. External partners help process the acquisition of knowledge from outside and help approach a problem from a process different than traditional methods. It may not always be successful since to hit the shared value target, the process challenges changes in the top notch and elitist practices in the technology ecosystem. However, the problem should be broadcasted in public to receive a network of solvers who can collaborate on solving a problem. One can focus on external technology providers in order to acquire solution knowledge.

But before that, it is also key to evaluate Open Innovation readiness of the enterprise. Any existing organizational structure makes it difficult to adopt the external ideas within the organization. Involving external solvers makes the management affair more complex. The most important task of the internal team is to embrace external ideas and use them to the organization\'s advantage. If the company does not absorb the external knowledge and ideas, Open innovation can become just another cost driver.

Next would be to perform an Open Innovation readiness audit. The audit includes the criteria \'Organizational readiness\' such as cultural openness, dynamic adaptability, \'the ability to cooperate\', such as Inside-out and outside-in collaboration and \'knowledge absorption\', i.e. identification, assimilation, transformation and exploitation of knowledge. It\'s important to keep in mind that Innovation spirit cannot be faked. Innovators have a right to expect authentically innovative institutions.

Process Driven Agenda

A strategic approach to open innovation requires knowing when and how to make decisions heavily influenced by the complexity of the problem and knowing whether variables like time or cost of making the product relevant to market is of leading importance. We innovate to solve problems, but those innovations create new problems of their own, which requires more innovation until we innovate ourselves into oblivion. Each strategy, regardless of the innovation model, requires executives in charge to manage associated risks, knowledge sharing and IP strategy and rights selection albeit in different ways. Its only through the strategic deployment of the best modes or a combination of the associated tactics that enterprises will be able to reap the maximized benefits of the open innovation process while tackling expected (sometimes unexpected) hurdles.