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Challenges of Open Innovation and How Consulting Can be a Catalyst for Open Innovation

by | Jul 5, 2019 | Create Value Through Consulting, Leverage disruption to create more value through Consulting | 0 comments

“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” – Margaret Heffernan

 

Open innovation is the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively.

Beyond the extended role given to R&D, the concept also requires a contribution for all stakeholders in the company. Rendering the innovation process much more collaborative and guess what … open.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, the main sources of Open Innovation are:

  • Academia – universities, labs, and research centers
  • Customers, Suppliers and Business partners – their unmet needs, issues, and suggestions for product improvements
  • Industry Groups and Professional Associations where sharing of thought leadership and newest developments, is happening.
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And now here are some of the new challenges:

 

Implementation of Open Innovation

Recent reports revealed that about 80% of organizations are engaged in some kind of open innovation. But only a few would qualify those efforts as successful

 

Balancing Act

Cooperation of large companies & small start-ups. It’s a known fact that many small companies have reservations about Open Innovation collaboration with large corporations. It’s a matter of building trust and identifying common interests and mutual benefits.

The Virtual Technology Cluster (VTC) Group program provides a complementary platform for all existing accelerators, incubators, Academic programs, etc. as we focus primarily on connecting the innovation within each VTC to revenue.

 

The Benefits of Curated Innovation

The VTC Group attempt to take a much more curated approach to innovation. They aim to provide companies with a customized ecosystem of startups, academics, and government agencies to help bring the latest innovations that are happening in their field.

This curation process is crucial as there are considerable, and often unforeseen costs involved with open innovation.

 

How Can Consultants Become a Catalyst of Open Innovation for Your Organization? 

The outside world offers a plethora of opportunities in using Consultants as your “agent” in successful Implementation of Open innovation.

– Facilitating collaboration between large and small companies – Here is a challenge that both large and small companies face –  Large companies are often struggling to explore disruptive ideas as they focus on their core business. Small companies can be fast and agile in developing new ideas, but often struggle bringing these to the market as they lack the means and capability to do do, but if you find ways to combine their resources, the results can be quite interesting!

Act as your sparring partners –

It can be beneficial to keep the line of communication open with a limited set of partners and bounce ideas as sparring partners. Besides, in those conversations, you manage what you want to disclose or not.

Last, when it comes to getting ideas, don’t underestimate the power of your procurement processes. Leveraging RFIs (Requests For Information) is a way to gather some elements before launching a full-fledged project.

Obviously, some RFIs have to turn into projects at some point. Otherwise, consultants could see it as brain picking, and the source and quality of what you gather will dry.

– Being a source of ideas –

As one of the senior partners from a large consultancy puts it: “We were developing the big idea and selling it.” Consultants were pitching strategy ideas and helping to bring them to fruition.

Today projects have evolved in sizes and shapes, but the scheme where consultants are pitching their ideas remain.

Consultants are also screening and processing a huge amount of information to stay current in their industry of specialization. With the emergence of dynamic start-up ecosystems, consultants have also started to maintain a mapping of the most recent and relevant ones. Oliver Wyman produces on a regular basis an interesting mapping of the start-ups in the procurement field.

Facilitating innovation task forces –

If you are re-inventing your business or a business unit, the first step will be to help you determine what you expect from your innovation but also what are the limits that you are placing for the exercise.

Facilitation can be very useful to create the conditions to spur innovation. You can find in the market all kind of facilitation services. It ranges from the innovation consulting firms to futurists, that can help you project yourself a few years down the road, taking into account megatrends and technological progress to look at what the future holds. 

Connecting you with third parties –

New technologies have made it possible to leverage the power of crowdsourcing. Companies like Innocentive and Nine Sigma, for instance, are pioneers in crowdsourced innovation. They help companies to define the problem they are trying to solve. They then organize challenges that can be internal to the company or leveraging their huge network of experts. They can also create specific galleries where clients are exposing their main challenges for experts to solve.

Beyond Crowdsourcing, consulting firms have experience with multiple customers on the same subjects but through different angles. They can also help establish connections when discussions between their clients would prove valuable and beneficial.

If your organization aspires to grow, you need to incorporate open innovation, build an innovation machine or innovate in your operations. The right consultants can be the catalysts you need to spur your innovation. To find out how we can help you, please connect with us today to discuss further.

Published in Create Value Through Consulting, Leverage disruption to create more value through Consulting

About The Author

Hélène Laffitte

Helene is the CEO and Co-founder of Consulting Quest. She launched Consulting Quest in 2014, driven by the idea that a global performance-centric Consulting service platform would greatly benefit clients by helping them source better.  Helene’s background in Engineering, Consulting, Procurement, and Industrial Strategy has contributed to the creation of an extremely athletic business model, set to change the way consulting is procured.

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