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(This blog was first posted on ideapoke.com)

How would you like it if members in your ecosystem contributed to your revenues by sharing innovative ideas? If (case in point- Procter & Gamble) over a third of the innovation  in your company came from your customers, suppliers, technologists/geeks, scientists and universities? If you were able to save on costs, learn knowledge faster and get help quickly? Welcome to the world of Open Innovation! Ideapoke has spoken about Open Innovation and the reasons companies are adopting this radical new concept, yet we notice certain roadblocks to Open Innovation.

Open Innovation Roadblocks C&H

Ready for the smooth ride?

Building a culture of innovation inside a company in itself is a task. You face the typical roadblocks of conservative leadership or high levels of bureaucracy, routine tasks taking over time of employees, budget constraints. In Open-Innovation this seems to increase several manifold. The fundamental question is – If you do want to innovate and if there are possibilities for people to help you, then what’s stopping you?

Below, we breakdown two such roadblocks in Open Innovation –

Change in culture 

Fundamental to most problems, the change in culture is a big roadblock for open innovation to succeed. This is a change in culture for 4 sets of people – Group R&D around IP, Leadership, Managers and Investors.

The dangerously plagued “Not Invented Here” Syndrome (NIH syndrome)  is prevalent in most companies. If open innovation has to successfully be adopted and carried, people cannot go the NIH mindset.  People feel overtly protective of their IP, their knowledge stored in-house, and the feeling of being the alpha-male who can solve every problem! They seem to miss the point that knowledge shared is knowledge gained and looking outside can save some serious burning of money. This doesn’t mean Non-Disclosure Agreements cannot be placed, however IP-sharing and showcasing possibilities to open up some possibilities of the future strategy will drive higher returns rather than be a roadblock.

While the NIH syndrome is clearly detrimental for open innovation, leaders and managers could actually be enablers rather than a roadblock. However, if the corporate functions in a rigid “command-and-control” and “all-in” manner, open innovation is a no-go. Leaders must take a collaborative and long term approach while balancing the vision with what is possible and current capabilities. Only taking a top-down approach is a roadblock for innovation. However, Innovation must get a focus from the top. Managers need to ensure talent gets recognised and rewarded. The top-performers and innovation-enthusiasts will not enjoy being micro-managed, nor will they conform to all rules. Giving them their space and flexibility to perform is how you can ensure being an enabler rather than a roadblock.

One of the other factors for this change in culture are the investors, who are focussed on short term profits. The classical cycle that follows is the need for the company to deliver higher margins, hence KPI’s are set accordingly, hence the managers will not allow resources to focus on new initiatives and as a result, innovation stagnates.

Perceiving Open Innovation

Open Innovation is perceived as a threat by many, rather than beneficial. This happens due to the perception that open innovation could displace a persons’s job, or risk sharing inside information, or appearing not to have solutions, value and capability. The right understanding to the right kind of people doing the right kind of job at the right designation can help overcome the roadblock. The roadblock of understanding your partners and consumers needs to be overcome. Trust and transparency are driving factors. If there is a focus and understanding of the markets and consumer – then connecting and collaborating becomes easier. Several platforms and processes, such as the Enterprise Connect or the Discovery Scout from Ideapoke, can help overcome the roadblock of changing perception – by enhancing communication, promoting the processes of ideation, connecting with members of the ecosystem and educating people in the company.

The list for the roadblocks or possibilities to tackle open Innovation are plenty. By focusing on ideas, engagement and execution, open innovation can deliver results you might not have even imagined, had you been alone, contemplating in the box!

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