I’m sure you’ve heard the statement – “we’re doing this innovation for strategic reasons”. Quite often “strategic” used in this context as a euphemism for “it’s not going to make any money but we need a reason to justify it”. Strategy should rarely be used as the sole reason or even excuse for innovation. It should always be strategic and make money.
Open Innovation (OI) offers companies greater opportunities for innovative products and services by increasing the access to inventions, technologies and products that other companies possess. In order for it to work effectively, it must be internalized in a way that gets a project moving fast. This is a key part of the process and certain people can play a key role.
The obituaries and tributes are fulsome and quite rightly so. Steve Jobs was an extraordinary man who built Apple into an extraordinary company. In the best tradition of declaring interests, let me say that I am also an Apple loyalist, an iPhile. I love the products, so my views may be slightly biased when I say that the Apple of the last 10 years is one of the most successful business stories ever.
I suspect the vast majority of innovation professionals would agree that measuring what you do is important. That may well be a statement of the blindingly obvious, but the debate diverges dramatically when considering what is actually done. Luis Solis of Imaginatik wrote a good post on Innovation Excellence clearly distinguishing between input and output metrics. I’d like to build on Luis’ article by adding four other considerations to the debate.
Everybody who works in business is busy. There are deadlines, crises, urgent requests from on high, and email inboxes stuffed to bursting. How many times do you reply “very busy” when asked how things are going? Scheduling meetings is a diary nightmare; it’s easier to seek perfect alignment of the planets than to get eight senior people in the same room within the next month. The personal workload and efficiency challenge is particularly acute these days.
Open Innovation is now an accepted methodology for enhancing your new product or service development pipeline. It is deployed to varying degrees depending on the industry or even the company attitude.
We deal with attraction every day of our lives, sometimes with life-changing consequences, for example in our choice of life partner. Many factors are involved – looks, intelligence, humour, wealth, or if you’re really lucky, an extraordinary combination of all four. Attraction is important in business too, but how often do you step back and consider what makes you attractive?
In my last blog I outlined some of the challenges facing Open Innovation in the context of large contracting relationships. I’ll now move on to some of the top line considerations when working with suppliers, from the perspective of both customer and supplier.
The International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) is a successful organization of professionals involved with large contracts, procurement and outsourcing. If you want to know about anything to do with this area, they are the “go to” people, and are very ably led by Tim Cummins. I was delighted when Tim asked me to present at their EMEA conference in Amsterdam in May on the subject of Open Innovation, Contracts and Relationships. I’ll cover some of the learnings in this and following blog posts.