As a leader and pioneer in open innovation, we have come up a myth that we must break. It gives us heart that others in the industry are working to squash this myth as well. Through our work, building custom open innovation platforms that empower individual team members from new hires to seasoned veterans, and customers with backgrounds of all types, we know that there is no one singular skill that makes someone an innovator. Some how, as executives has set their organizations on the path to achieve innovation, they have lost their way. They have developed the idea that there exist, a select few capable of true innovation.
We’ve done some digging, and researched a good bit, and have found the Larry Keeley’s team says it best in their book Ten Types of Innovation:
“Innovation is a team sport, and it’s not the domain of the rare genius or the chosen few. Any one can (and should) learn to innovate, and with practice anyone can become better at innovating. Simply put, there is no longer an excuse not to innovate.”
Certain individuals have read about, learned about and experienced the talented that singular inventors have created, and misidentified their work as innovation. Yes, some gifted individuals have made great strides in changing our lives and moving our lives forward through their inventions. But the great majority of innovation comes directly from teams of hardworking individuals who put their minds and their experiences together to solve a challenge, identify an area for growth, and follow it up with a way make something sustainable and positive happen.
What does innovation look like in your organization? We bet it looks a whole lot like your team members, the people who work day in and day out with your products and services to meet the needs or your customers. We bet it looks like your customers, and the thoughts, feelings, and ideas that they have around what you currently offer, and what they you would do next. Innovation is not something that is achieved by an individual, alone in a room with a whiteboard. It’s a team of different people with a clear path and a solid work effort.
At Idea Hunt, we can’t wait to see what innovation looks like for your organization. We’re so excited to meet your team, your customers, and to design an affordable and customized solution that empowers them to achieve innovation faster and smarter.
In this series of blog posts, we’ve been talking about the shift from consumers to prosumer, and how you can bring them into your innovation process, without opening yourself up to risk. At the end of the last post, we began taking a look at how you can leverage the Idea Hunt Innovation Platform specifically to involve them, and how it helps to manage or mitigate the inherent risks involved. We’ll continue that discussion in greater detail here in this post.
Idea Hunt offers a hybrid style platform. Other solutions are often, either completely private, engaging only your internal team members, or completely public, allowing the world at large to view your discussions. Idea Hunt can offer both these types of solutions, but we can also take it one step further, in enabling you to make some projects public, or public to a degree, while running others that are totally private.
In this post, we are going to take a look at how you leverage this partially public platform. On Idea Hunt, through our individual project or hunt settings, you can control just how visible the information is. You can select to make both the innovation brief and ideas that are submitted in response public, but require a login to participate.
You can allow potential participants the ability to read the creative brief, but not see any of the ideas that have been submitted, until they create a login and agree to your terms and conditions.
This is beneficial for companies who want to leverage open innovation, but aren’t yet quite ready to totally open up their innovation process for the world to see. By requiring users to create a user login, you can ensure that they only see and take part in the innovation process, after they have agreed to keep what they see and say private. By inviting users to sign an agreement you are legally protected should any information slip into the hands of others.
In the first post, we introduced the idea or concept of how consumers have changed, morphed thanks to innovation in commerce and technology, into proactive consumers – or prosumers. In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can satisfy their desire to become a part of your corporate innovation process, without the risks that might come with opening up the discussion about where your company is going and how you plan to get there.
Like the idea of prosumers, open innovation is a new trend that many corporations and organizations are trying to embrace. But if you think of the different parts of a corporation as guests at a party, the innovation team is like the shy group that has trust issues – after all, their job is take the company in a new direction, while safeguarding proprietary information. It’s a tall order. So how do you open up this team or this department to your prosumers and invite them into the process, all while mitigating the risk? We’ll take a look at five ways to incrementally bring prosumers into your corporate innovation, address the risks and how to mitigate them.
Open innovation has risks associated with it, but through planning and preparation, you work to alleviate some of those risks. Through user agreements or nondisclosure agreements at events you can protect yourself if something does leak. Through communication, and explanation, you can explain the reason for the project and empower your prosumers as active participants. In short, open innovation and its success within your company, is up to you. Your prosumers are waiting to be invited into your innovation process, and they’re full of new ideas, perspectives and constructive feedback if you are ready to embrace them.
Now that technology (specifically the internet) has democratized the world of content, everyone can contribute and it’s created a wild and wonderful digital world. It’s also changed the way we learn about products and services before we make our buying decisions. Before the age of bloggers, influencers and content marketing, we went to a store to talk to a paid subject matter expert, or we listened to one on a commercial or infomercial. Now, we turn to the internet for product information, reviews, and videos of people using it, before we buy it.
We don’t just learn from the companies, the bloggers and influencers any more. Technology has also made it much easier for us to contact and connect with the companies who make the products and offer the services that we purchase. Now, we can actually influence the process and as it happens, the end result.
Technology has enabled us to make the switch from consumers, to prosumers. The term prosumer is gaining traction and there’s a good chance, that if you serve as an innovation officer or spend your days in a C level suite, you’ve heard it a good bit. That’s because our customers are now telling us what products they want – effectively taking over the steering wheel and driving our business…if we let them. And why not?
It sounds scary, yes. Letting your customers dictate the direction in which your company is heading, but if you don’t let them take you where they want you to go, they’ll go to someone else who will. In a previous post we talked about the Economy of Innovation. In this economy, companies no longer can continuously make small changes to stay in business. Now, companies must make large scale, innovative changes to stay relevant, and meet the changing needs and desires of prosumers. These innovations have been dubbed “Killer Innovations” by experts like Phil McKinney.
Involving your prosumers in these change discussions, is a great way to ensure that you are headed in the right direction, the direction in which they want you to travel.
In the next post, we’ll take a look at safe ways that you can incorporate your prosumers into your change discussions, to reap the benefits without the risks.
While one person might be tasked with managing and reporting on innovation projects, they shouldn’t have to think them up all on their own. Really, it’s better for everyone if they don’t. Let’s think about what innovation means and respectively what innovation projects mean for your organization.
Innovation is defined as change, change that propels a company forward. Synonyms for the word include transformation, upheaval, revolution. When you look at innovation for what it is, it becomes a big responsibility. Why would you want to trust or task a sole person with selecting how your organization innovates itself?
Rather than ask one person to ideate, essentially in a vacuum, gather together a diverse team of members from your organization, invite experts, and if you’re bold enough to embrace open innovation, bring in some of your customers to group think about ways to innovate. This team of people should be from different parts of your organization, or from outside the organization. They should have different experiences and backgrounds. Grouping together people with such differences with enable you gather different perspectives, styles of thinking, experiences and frames of reference. This will make the ideas that generated more diverse and more creative, providing you with a better chance at identifying a successful innovation project.
While it’s better not to go the whole project alone, you can work ahead to plan and lay the groundwork for the project – to help ensure its success, to cut down on some of the time that the project will take, etc. Here are some tips from the pros at Idea Hunt.
4. Explain the project, the process, and the reason behind it. When participants fully understand not just the objective, but the entire project and it’s purpose, they’ll participate more fully and their ideas will be more on topic.