Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Open Innovation - What is the role of internal teams?

“If I practice Open Innovation, and get solutions to my problems from outside the company, then what does my internal team work on? How can I rely on outsiders to provide solutions to our company problems?” These were some of the questions that were posed to me when I was discussing Open Innovation with one of my class mates who was running his own business. Good question and I thought this needs further clarification – so here is my attempt.

It is a misconception that Open Innovation is the solution to all problems. Also it is very risky to rely only on Open Innovation to get answers to all your problems. Most of the problems we face at companies are filled with contextual information. This is generally information which only insiders or employees of that particular organisation understand. This could be either names of application software or hardware platforms being used or other specific information which may be unique. These cannot be exposed directly to the outside world due to security reasons and also since outsiders will not be able to appreciate the complexity involved. Hence there is quite some work in filtering this information and identifying the core problem for which you intend to seek outside help. This work needs to be done by the team inside the organisation since they are the only people who understand this. Only the core issue, stripped of any contextual information, should be identified and presented to the outside world for solutions/ideas. This has only been proven to get the desired results.

The most important and crucial phase is the realisation of ideas. Ideas or solution approaches are only the beginning. The actual work is in taking those to market successfully. There is a whole range of activities involved right from packaging to marketing to launch. These can only be done by employees within an organisation and not by outsiders even though the ideas for these again could be from outside.

So, in summary, if you were under the impression that you can just throw the entire problem over the wall and you will get some magical solutions shortly, it is time for you to do a reality check. Engaging the crowd and getting solutions from the outside world works but there is a lot of effort before the benefits can be realised for the companies posting their problems.

1 comment:

  1. 教育的目的,不在應該思考什麼,而是教吾人怎樣思考.........................


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