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Stefan Lindegaard on Open Innovation
Articles from long-time blogger and open innovation guru, Stefan Lindegaard
Open Innovation's Essential Element: Trust
Trust is fundamental to open innovation. Without everyone involved believing they can rely on the good faith of the others, little of real consequence will happen. Trust comes at many levels – internally as well as externally. As you move toward open innovation, you should begin to look into two questions:
The necessity of building trust as a basis for successful open innovation makes looking at the people side of innovation to the forefront, rather than concentrating on processes. It also brings more power to the people who really drive innovation within a company. Why? Because trust is first and foremost established between people and then perhaps between organizations. Trust is a personal thing, and the innovation leaders who understand this are suddenly in a much better position with regards to making things happen and creating an interesting and challenging career.
What are the barriers against building trust and relationships with stakeholders in your eco-system?
What should you do to foster an organizational mindset that supports the building of trust?
The most difficult situation faced by most innovation leaders working with open innovation is that they are alone. This is a new way of doing things, and it will develop many corporate antibodies in the form of people who just want things to stay as they have always been.
This is a very normal reaction; many people feel threatened by something that is new and doesn't seem to match what has led the organization to success in the past. So you do not get much support for this new way of thinking from anyone within your company. They might see this could be interesting but once they begin to understand that you have to make significant changes in the way you are dealing with external stakeholders, they begin to raise obstacles rather than see opportunities.
When you have recruited enough people with a proper mindset, then you have laid the foundation for trust, which in turn makes everyone accept that strong relationships are the key to business success in the future. Now you are ready for open innovation.
Unfortunately, it is my experience that few companies have laid this foundation, and this will not happen unless you become successful in recruiting the right people with the right mindset. You can more or less just forget about processes and concepts because when it comes to open innovation it is the mindset that matters the most. If you get the mindset right, the implementation of processes will be so much easier to deal with.
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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