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Stefan Lindegaard on Open Innovation
Articles from long-time blogger and open innovation guru, Stefan Lindegaard
What is Your Mandate for (Open) Innovation?
When you're embarking on open innovation, it is critical to get things right the first time. To do otherwise is to risk having employees quickly grow sceptical about the depth of your commitment to open innovation. Is it just talk, or is there truly a strong commitment to make real change? Is the company's leadership up for the challenge? The answers to these key questions become apparent to employees very rapidly. Any dissonance between the innovation mandate and objective, and the reality of how things are actually being done, cannot be hidden.
The first element that has to be put in place is a clear mandate for change. A clearly given mandate can help work out the inevitable internal conflicts with regards to resources and authority given to those who are charged with making open innovation work.
The mandate should be easy to communicate to stakeholders, who will be involved in reaching the intent or purpose. The mandate should:
It must be clear to everyone in the organization that the move toward open innovation has the full support of the company's leaders. In smaller companies with relatively flat organization charts, this is easier than in a bigger company with many bureaucratic layers. In a small organization, the executive team is usually deeply involved in forging ahead with innovation and thus their commitment to making it work is clear to all. Communicating the open innovation message on a constant basis is relatively simple when the boss talks to everyone in the company on a regular basis.
This contrasts with large companies where middle managers can play an obstructionist role if they sense that innovation leaders do not have executive support. In such cases, middle management will tend to focus on their own agendas rather than on what is best for the company.
But no matter what the size of the company, having a mandate is an essential starting point for starting down the path toward open innovation. What is your mandate? Have you spelled it out so that everyone understands it and have you consistently shown your commitment to in your decision making?
This post was adapted from The Open Innovation Revolution: Essentials, Roadblocks, and Leadership Skills, authored by Stefan Lindegaard and published by John Wiley & Sons.
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