1) Andy Zynga, “An open innovation toolset to boost innovation effectiveness”
2) Frank Pillers, “The future of open innovation beyond the hype”
3) François Léveillée, “Collaborative project for better agricultural practices and new markets for pulp & paper industry”
The first two presentations were keynotes by Andy Zynga of NineSigma, Frank Pillers of RWTH Technology & Innovation Management Group, RWTH Aachen University and the third by François Léveillée, essentially a case study from the first Quebec City Seeking Solutions Summit in 2010. The three presentations flowed from the most theoretical to the most practical aspects of Open Innovation.
My three key learnings from each presentation were:
“An open innovation toolset to boost innovation effectiveness”
- Large demand side Multi-National corporations are the early adopters of Open Innovation
- Open Innovation matches problem seekers with potential solution providers
- Intelligent due diligence and vetting of problems is the key to successful Open Innovation
“The future of open innovation beyond the hype”
- Evolution of OI from 1.0 to 4.0 is 10 years in the making
- Mechanisms to initial collaboration and search methodologies are evolving
- Organizational culture is the key to OI success or failure
“Collaborative project for better agricultural practices and new markets for pulp & paper industry “
- Local Open Innovation is the spark to collaboration
- Stakeholder engagement is key to success
- Viable commercial solutions are years in the making
Synthesising Lessons Learned
Although OI has been around for 10 years it is still relatively niche and not well understood by the average business. In terms of lifecycle adoption I would speculate that the methodology is at or near the middle stages of the early adopter phase. Extrapolating further this means there is significant room for growth as validated by Frank’s diagram on slide 12 of “The future of open innovation beyond the hype” and his predictions for future growth on slide 17.
The methodology and practice of OI is continuously evolving with a heavy emphasis on change management. I find it incredibly fascinating that large multi-national corporations are the innovators and early adopters of the OI methodology. Initially this struck me as counter-intuitive and the opposite of the new model of technology adoption in a long tail world. However, the progression of OI methodology in a long tail distribution is from left to right with the early adopters being large multi-nationals operating in the market opportunities closest to the Y-axis. The more common method of market adoption in the new long tail distribution is typically from right to left with distributed and smaller companies operating in the shallower market opportunities much further along the long tail and well away from the Y-axis. Upon reflection, this made sense because the multi-nationals have pockets deep enough to be able to afford the services of the first providers of OI methodology.
The second day of the conference and the content of Francois Léveillée’s presentation were on the very powerful and results-oriented methodology of Local Open Innovation. Francois’ presentation was basically a case study from the first edition of the Seeking Solutions Summit, which resulted in the collaboration of a number of participants. My initial thought was that the key collaborators were an unlikely group to be working together and the problem would not have been intuitive to the solution providers. There are several keys to success here including: the Seeking Solutions Summit acting as the catalyst between the collaborators, engaged interested stakeholders and the persistence of the stakeholders to continue to collaborate for several years.
Open Innovation is moving toward becoming a standard management practice and making progress toward broad-based market acceptance. However, successful implementation of OI is largely a function of integrating change management into business practices of large organizations. The methodology has yet to migrate into best practices for small and early stage businesses; however, this is perhaps where there is the greatest opportunity.
- Ian Graham