The logic behind Open Innovation is compelling, but implementation can be difficult. To realize the benefits of Open Innovation, execution must be aligned with a disciplined process.
Companies share the same goal - to provide the highest possible Return on Investment for shareholders. However, in recent years the global business environment has seen more and more change.
- Markets are more transparent
- Needed technologies and products are much more complicated
- Consumers are more demanding
- Talent is difficult to find and retain
The need to achieve the same business goals within this new set of realities has led many corporate leaders to leverage outside knowledge to complement their internal resources for developing new products and processes, known as Open Innovation. Yet, despite the long list of reported benefits and examples of good results, it is sometimes argued that Open Innovation fails to live up to its full potential.
In our perspective, the problem lies not in the concept of looking externally for help, but in its execution. Unfortunately, the broader connotation intended by Chesbrough when he coined the phrase "Open Innovation" has become synonymous with Crowd Sourcing. While we believe Crowd Sourcing has its place on the spectrum of Open Innovation methods, it is a system which relies on the probability that the right technology exists and the right person will respond to the challenge. It neither ensures the right problems are being addressed, nor does it filter out the bad ideas.
GEN3 Open Innovation Principles
GEN3 represents a practical means for realizing the benefits of Open Innovation. Our disciplined innovation processes allow us to effectively search global knowledge domains, find solutions from distant domains, and adapt the solutions to clients' technical challenges.
- Before searching for solutions, the underlying problems behind the challenge should first be understood. Open Innovation should focus on key underlying problems, instead of the initial ones.
- Focus the external search on functions, instead of specific design components or technologies.
- Search for solutions in functionally similar areas of science and engineering where companies have already invested in R&D
- Focus on adapting the solutions to the application at hand, rather than inventing a solution from scratch. This both increases speed to market and lowers risk, as the technologies have already proven successful in other applications.