Innovation In The Company 2.0? From the outset, I must say that my goal in this post is not to collect the largest number of fashion trends in a single post (although it may seem!). But to comment on how well they “take” both approaches. I think that the concept of the Enterprise 2.0 is more or less known by the readers of the blog. But maybe it is less the “open innovation”, and as someone has already asked me to write about this topic, I take advantage of it.
Open innovation is perhaps the most fashionable buzzword in everything that has to do with innovation management. It seems that if today you talk about innovation and do not mention it, you risk being exiled from the profession. Having your material assets confiscated. As I have no interest in that happening to me. I will talk about the long and hard topic. Beyond the fashions; the open innovation approach is something that I love. Since it marries very well with the concept of the company 2.0.
The innovation closed is the classic way to bring innovation, in which the organization is responsible for research. Development and subsequent arrival on the market of products created. This approach assumes that the company has complete capacity to do basic research, develop what was researched and then market the results. It is an extreme-to-extreme approach, in which the company lives “isolated” from the outside world. Does not relate (in this aspect) with other actors. It is an inherited approach from the era where only a few mastodons could innovate with sufficient capacity and “power” to undertake the entire cycle. The approach is usually described by the following funnel graph:
By contrast, the concept of open innovation was popularized by Henry Chesbrough through the magnificent book “Open Innovation “. The poses is quite different approach, of a completely collaborative nature (it already sounds like 2.0, no?). The idea is that the innovative company “Juan Palomo” does not make much sense (I eat it, I eat it), but it is smarter to take advantage of the potential where it is. That is inside and outside of the company. For 99% of the companies it does not make any sense to do and finance basic research (in the graph I call it “internal technological base”). But it is much more logical to use the one created in universities, for example, and build on it. In fact, it is not even necessary that everything we take advantage of from outside is basic research. But in many cases it may make sense to integrate external technology already developed. It is also feasible that some of the products of this process do not fit in the current market of the company, do we discard them? Not at all, we can choose to attack new markets with them, license their technology and earn little (or much) money recurrently or even make a spin-off with this technology, which we could even finance by integrating external venture capital firms. As you can see, the approach is completely focused towards opening, collaboration and communication and we have not even raised that this applies not only to technology but in many cases to new business models. This is one of the method of Innovation In The Company 2.0.
Once we have introduced a definition far above the open innovation, the time has come to ask what has to do with the famous Enterprise 2.0. As I think it has already been intuited, both are based on a collaborative, open model and in which the (controlled!) Circulation of information produces clear benefits.
But really, a “Enterprise 2.0” that wants to openly manage its innovation. What actors should it be related? By making a short list, it occurs to me:
Employees, a classic source of innovation, and to whom they should be offered a way to channel ideas proposals or technological surveillance that adds value. It’s funny. But more ideas are usually received through this channel than through traditional ones.
Clients, that although timidly we are beginning to incorporate to our processes of innovation. One of the most important props, since they offer focus. As we commented in another post, the idea is that we transform knowledge into money, so someone has to buy something although they should not obsess either, since customers usually provide valuable inputs only to the process of incremental innovation. This is also another method of Innovation In The Company 2.0.
Competitors, that in the new model of cooperation that offers such good results are an integral part of innovation. It is not at all to share our “crown jewels” with the competition. But to propose a scheme of cooperation, for example in basic research per se little value to the market provides at this stage.
Providers, who usually have more vertical knowledge in the areas they dominate. Which is likely to make more sense to integrate them into the process. Take advantage of their experience than to keep them in the dark.
University, Technology Centers, one of the key pieces, since they have a large part of the basic research. This important competences in technology transfer that we should take advantage of without reservations.
Government, whether in its European, national, regional or local flavor, is fully aware of its obligation to support companies in the path of innovation, offering some obvious ways.
With this number of actors, it is clear that communication and management of collaboration is key. There are several approaches of the 2.0 company that can be useful. But in general they are all based on facilitating conversations, listening and reacting in an agile way. Some (few) ideas:
Communities, both internal to enhance the collaborative thinking of employees, and external. Where to include competition and other external agents, such as universities. When we say communities, we refer to the use of several integrated tools, for example blogs as a blog for the activity of each group. Wikis for collaborative editing, microblogging for technological surveillance, or any of the ideas presented below. In general, it is about creating self-organized communities of interest around the interesting topics an idea that sectorially is having very good results is to create think tanks2.0 sets between the company itself. Competition, universities and other actors that guide the path of basic research.
Social Taggin: The labeling of knowledge and folksonomies allow posing fully flexible knowledge management models. In which we must accept a small error threshold that disappears once there is enough information (the same results do not show the tag “open source” “The tag” opensource “). This approach is especially useful in innovation to know where the most useful knowledge comes from. This also a type of Innovation In The Company 2.0.
Signaling : Technologies such as RSS capable of supporting a proactive model of information (the classic pull vs. push) in which all the activities included in the open innovation process are syndicated, so that any change is known instantly by all people subscribed (for example to areas of knowledge, available technologies … etc). This is a type of Innovation In The Company 2.0.
Distributed decision making: Examples such as the use of Google Moderator by the Obama administration in the change.gov initiative give an insight into the power of distributed decisions. In the environment of open innovation, this may be one of the most interesting points to take advantage of with customers, receiving open, qualified and quantified feedback of new products or services, integrating them into decision-making on the viability of products, for example.