In today’s digital age, businesses need to be more agile than ever in order to keep up with the rapidly changing technology landscape. After all, no one can predict exactly what innovations will come about next and where they might come from. With open innovation, employees are able to bring new ideas to the table that wouldn’t have been discovered otherwise. It also fosters a culture of collaboration rather than competition among employees. These are three ways your company can grow and improve your open innovation program.
Allow Employees to Collaborate on Company Probes
Company probes are the exploratory research activities needed to inform the innovation strategy and discover unmet customer needs. Probes can be used to answer large questions, such as “What is the future of work?” or “How will people consume energy in the future?” By allowing employees to collaborate on probes, you can get a wider variety of ideas that could lead to new innovations. This can be done asynchronously and in a self-guided manner, so it doesn’t take away from employees’ regular work. In fact, it can be done alongside other tasks so everyone can participate, even if they have limited time to spare.
Create a Culture of Continuous Learning and Experimentation
The best way to foster a culture of continuous learning and experimentation is to encourage employees to share what they’re learning and experimenting with, even if it doesn’t directly relate to their job. The key is to make it a norm in your company culture to share over and above normal expectations. For instance, if your company holds regular company hackathons to boost innovation, encourage employees to also share what they’ve learned with each other outside of those events. When employees are encouraged to share all the time, they’ll create a culture of sharing and collaboration whereby other employees can build off of each other’s ideas and information.
Run an Open Innovation Contest
If you have a clear problem or opportunity you’d like to solve, running an open innovation contest can help you discover innovative new ideas from a broader range of people. By opening up the contest for a specific challenge in your company, you can encourage employees as well as other people in your industry to come up with creative solutions that could be beneficial to your company. Open innovation contests can be done in a number of ways, but one of the most common is the challenge statement. A challenge statement is a clearly defined problem or opportunity that you’re trying to solve. Support for creating a challenge statements are is available and in use for all Floor23 clients that choose to use Floor23 InnoBear as the their Challenge Competition Hosting platform
Although open innovation has been around for years, many companies still struggle to implement it successfully. This is because it takes a lot of effort to change employee culture and push ideas that are outside of the norm. With the right approach, however, open innovation can transform your company. It can help you discover new innovations and ideas that you might not have discovered otherwise, while also fostering a collaborative culture where employees feel empowered to share their ideas.