3 min read

Boon Or Bust

Boon Or Bust
Maggie Franz

Maggie Franz

Does leveraging open innovation help or hurt R&D Managers?

From staying ahead of disruptive innovations in the market, to gaining customer insights and desired, open innovation can help an R&D Manager in many different ways.  Innovation was traditionally delegated to a select few, and relegated to an offsite location. This allowed for the development and testing of ideas without interruption of day to day operations, however, it stifled a powerful feedback engine.

Your employees across the organization have different experiences with your products and services, your customers and therefore are full of potential ideas, solutions and feedback.  If you invite these people into your innovation projects, shifting from a closed or traditional to open or modern approach, the sky is the limit. And we’re not even sure that you have to stop there.  

Is open innovation right for you, right now?  Read on to find common stumbling blocks and learn how to get around them with simple open innovation projects.

Challenge: Identifying Customer Needs

Customers are a tricky bunch to get to know, they’re busy living their lives and might be slow or reluctant to respond to surveys and other traditional forms of communication.  The more you try these traditional methods of customer engagement, the more you might push them away.

Solution: Leverage Customer Immersions

Engaging and exciting customer immersions are a great way to encourage your customers to share their thoughts, feelings, ideas, background and even reasons for using your products.  These are easy to implement, you just need the right tools, that make it easy and fun for you, and your customers. Innovation platforms open lines of communication between your customers and team members and invite them directly into the process of innovation which is exciting.

Challenge: Innovation Causes Disruptions

Disruption in your market are happening all of the time, being driven by innovation projects in other companies and organizations.  It’s a struggle to keep up let alone get out ahead of these disruptions, let alone cause some of your own.

Solution: Look to the Future

Embracing innovation can help you not only stay ahead of and weather disruptions in your market, but also cause a few of them yourself.  By hosting a project like a lead user ideathon, you can invite your most innovative customers into an interactive environment like Idea Hunt’s web applications, in order to learn more about.  Figuring out who your most innovative customers are might take a little bit of work, but it pays dividends when you can gather their thoughts, feedback and ideas for the future of your business.

Challenge: Efficiency

Time, money, risk are all possible pitfalls for the R&D manager, how can you safely avoid all three and thus improve efficiency? As an R&D manager, you have a lot to think about in a day, from new products and solutions, to achieving more cost effective methods of producing and testing products, where does innovation fit into all of this?

Solution: Challenge the Minds of your Teams

Open innovation helps by distributing tasks like ideation, research, and implementation, by bringing team members into different parts of projects that were typically reserved for management.  We’re not suggesting abandoning your post and letting your employees run your department. Instead we suggest challenging the minds of the team members across your organization to scout opportunities, new ideas, methods and means to improve processes and workflows saving time and money while avoiding risk.

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