Why Innovation Is So Important ?

Today, companies can no longer restrict innovation to only one department. Companies are forced to evolve quickly due to technologies and to numerous opportunities on the market. It is statistically proven that a company that incorporates open innovation to its business model is

  • quicker to detect a fundamental shift in their industry by 11%,
  • more oriented towards the future than the present by 13%,
  • more oriented towards rewarding creative and innovative behaviours by 13%,
  • more oriented towards taking risks and experimenting new methods of doing things by 19%.

Source : Zhang, Joanne & Cosh, Andy. (2019). Open innovation choice – what is British enterprise doing?

Overall, open innovation is associated with superior growth performance and higher innovative activities. Firms are mostly doing it to gain access to new or specialized equipment and facilities, to enhance the firm’s reputation, or to enter in a new geographic or product/service market.

The definition of open innovation is not an opposition to traditional innovation. One complements the other. Keep in mind that open innovation practices can be manifested in many forms; from researching external best practices to then collaborating internally or externally, and sharing each other’s knowledge.


Why You Need to Focus on Open Innovation

A company chooses open innovation because it wants to capture ideas of as many people as possible… Whether innovative ideas come from your vendors, or from your clients, whether they come from the supplies department, the operations, the human resources or the finance department. The best people to be potential innovators are the ones who are constantly in contact with the products or services. This continuous process will make it possible to find different types of innovation: solutions to indomitable problems or seize opportunities at your fingertips.

An advantage of open innovation is the possibility of decreasing the risk. In joining a larger pool of individuals, the company gives itself the means to do more with what it already has. The ideas will allow, for example, to develop new uses by using the technologies or tools already in place. In result, we avoid starting from scratch.

Among other benefits, a strong culture of innovation will have a positive impact on employee retention. Today, most employees seek to use their creativity to innovate in their work environment, share their knowledge and develop their know-how. All these personal objectives fit into the definition of open innovation.



How to Do Open Innovation?

The degree of openness towards open innovation activities is highly associated with the business culture and the company’s orientation. It will strive in a business culture that promotes an environment where :

  • Internal cooperation is an important part of innovation strategy implementation;
  • Top managers encourage all employees to challenge the status quo;
  • Tool facilitates researching and incorporating diverse points of view.

Here Are theMain 4 Keys of Success

to Help You Start Structuring Your Open Innovation…


The Innovation Space

The first key of success when wanting to capture everyone’s innovative ideas is to establish the space where the open innovation process will take place and where it will flourish. This space needs to be safe, transparent and promoted. It needs to be easily accessible and enable collaboration from everyone.


Innovation Communities aka Hackatons

The second key of success is to ensure open innovation management within the company by structuring meetings on a daily or regular basis through communities of practice or events such as hackathons. Your activities can also come to life outside the company as within the framework of innovation labs. In reality, the spectrum of business practices that open up in the innovation process is wide. Some companies may want to connect widely to external sources, others will do their own research and some will acquire most of their technology from outside their walls.


Innovation Topics

The third key of success consists of identifying different topics that will guide the generation of ideas. These subjects should be clear, precise and of interest to whomever is generating ideas. Consider the following questions when thinking about topics :

What do the engagement surveys reveal as shortcomings in the way we work ?
What are the concerns of my colleagues ?
What are the priorities of my organization ?
What behaviors do you wish to develop ?


Identify the Innovation Participants

The fourth and final key of success to structure your open innovation is to identify the different participants that will become your innovators. You may include people from one department, multiples departments or even people from outside your organization.

The trick is to start small but be convincing.

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Sharing Experiences :

At Videotron, the deployment has been gradual. Since May 2018, Bambou Space has been proud to collaborate with Videotron for the integration and deployment of its Bottom-Up Solution™. Thanks to this mandate, Bambou Space wishes to foster collaboration around ideas for improvements proposed by employees in order to generate profits. The Bottom-Up Solution™ is currently deployed locally, in specific sectors and multisectoral, via communities.

Bambou Space is confident that the gradual aspect of the deployment allows better ownership of the Bottom-Up Solution™. Our team supports each of the Videotron teams in order to identify the winning conditions, establish a communication plan and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each within the framework of the process. The support takes the form of a series of two-hour workshops.


The 4 Pitfalls of Open Innovation.


Kill Ideas Too Quickly

Several innovation tools force participants to complete long forms. Others may prefer not to collect technological innovation ideas.

All of these barriers can discourage many people and miss good opportunities.


Create a Commitment ... Ephemeral

Several technological tools offer you to complete challenges to collect ideas. This is the case with crowdsourcing tools or ideas forums. They allow voting, classifying ideas and collecting comments.

Interesting at first, but beware. All your colleagues lose interest in the process if it does not lead to concrete results.



Reproduce the Silos of Your Organization in Your Innovation Tool

Open innovation seeks to facilitate collaboration between individuals who would not otherwise have the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other. Beware of those who would like to recreate organizational silos in your innovation tool.


Ask Everyone to Contribute in an Equivalent Way to the Process

Having more people around the table is an opportunity to invite all these individuals to play a role in the process.

Some will be comfortable coming up with new ideas, others will prefer to add to a colleague’s perspective on an idea, and finally, some will be key players in the implementation of ideas.

Beyond the number of ideas, the trap is not understanding the different roles and responsibilities that surround an open innovation process.

Did You Know ?

Research on innovation, more specifically on collective intelligence, wanted to predict the ability of a team to collaborate on solving a series of problems. They started by assessing the individual abilities of team members. Surprise! The study of 700 participations showed a significant link between collective intelligence and two factors: fairness of speaking and group empathy. Finally, no correlation was detected between the Intellectual Quotient (IQ) of the participants and collective intelligence.

Source : Woolley, A. W., Chabris, C. F., Pentland, A., Hashmi, N., & Malone, T. W. (2010). Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups. Science, 330(6004), 686-688. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1193147