4 min read
Trends, Products

Open Innovation

Open Innovation
Maggie Franz

Maggie Franz

Photo by Ivan Chen

Everyone wants it but not everyone is ready to embrace it

Open innovation is everywhere today. From big companies to small startups, it seems like everyone is clamoring about it - what is it? Why is it so beneficial? What are the risks? Who is doing it? Questions are flying in every direction about this new innovation technique and culture.

What is Open Innovation?

OpenInnovation.net defines it as “…a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology.” Pretty easy to understand, but not so easy to embrace for large companies. Think about, we’re asking large organizations that spend a lot of money to protect their proprietary products, architect their brand and keep the competition from glimpsing their next move. Now you are going to ask that organization to open up and invite external sources to help steer the business. That is quite a large and daunting ask.

If the risk is so great, what are the rewards?

By inviting external sources to generate innovative ideas for your business, you are gaining different perspectives that would otherwise never avail themselves to you. You are gaining the feedback, and insight of customers who otherwise had no way of communicating these vital pieces of information back to the decision makers and executives who steer the business. If an organization can create the right framework to embrace open innovation, the framework that a Premium Idea Hunt offers for example, they can mitigate the risks while still directly connecting with these outside sources of inspiration.

Why is Idea Hunt a perfect framework for Open Innovation?

Many who are familiar with and utilize Idea Hunt are active on the free version of our innovation and ideation platform. Idea Hunt also offers organizations the opportunity to build a custom or branded Idea Hunt that is cordoned off or separate from the public facing platform. These custom platforms provide different frameworks for implementing open innovation.

  1. From the Inside Out
    This might sound a bit funny. How can you have open innovation from within the company? It is an open innovation of sorts, because most ideas come from a select or elite few within the company’s hierarchy. By creating an internal version of Idea Hunt which all employees can access, creates direct lines of communications from the employees and decision makers. Employees are your front lines, communicating with customers and addressing their concerns, hearing their wishes and desires for your products or services. Give them a way to submit all of this feedback to those who need to hear it.Another benefit that we hear often from those that we talk to is the feedback functionality that is available across every level of Idea Hunt. Companies who have implemented other forms of innovation procedures and software report that while employees might submit ideas, they are not likely to talk to each other, to refine the ideas and curate them. Our platform encourages communication and constructive feedback to help engender more interaction and engagement.
  2. Fans and Followers
    Organizations can take open innovation one step beyond their internal resources by sending an invitation out to their fans and followers. This intermediate form of open innovation still affords the organization control over who is tapped for ideas and feedback that will help the company stay agile and relevant as the market continues to change and evolve. By requiring users who want to submit ideas to create a user name and password, and giving them the opportunity to complete a brief profile allows the organization another opportunity to gather additional information about their customers.Idea Hunt has the ability to build in prizes or rewards for winning ideas, and allows the hunt or campaign admins to publish criteria for these winning ideas. By offering prizes to your fans and followers, in the form of gift cards, free product or vouchers for services, you create the excitement that is provided by a bit of gamification and make innovation even more exciting!
  3. Open Innovation for Everyone!
    By opening up the custom Idea Hunt Platform to everyone, a company increases the number of potential meaningful ideations that they can collect and implement. A larger number of ideas comes with making the platform public and there is a bit of a risk of having to sift through the chaff to find the wheat, but this extra work can pay off.A public platform allows Idea Hunters to share the hunts or campaigns with their friends and family, to challenge others and through feedback and communication, grow your network even more. When users are engaged on the platform and sharing about it on their social media, they are proliferating your brand’s presence and introducing new potential customers to your products and services.

Tags: #Innovation #Idea hunt #Open innovation

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