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Maximizing Your Open Innovation Project

Maximizing Your Open Innovation Project

Nov-25-10 By Aminda
A classic business leadership story tells of Tom Watson Jr.’s, former head of IBM, meeting with a Vice President who had lost $10 million on a failed experiment. The VP came into the meeting fully expecting to be reprimanded and fired. Instead, Watson asked “why would we want to lose you when we’ve just given you a $10 million education?”

Most leaders will agree that there are plenty of benefits to developing a culture of risk-taking and by fostering an environment where employees are not afraid of failure. However, those same people will probably also agree that they’d prefer that ideas be tested thoroughly enough that they fail early on rather than after sinking significant time and resources into them.

If your organization has been considering utilizing open innovation to solve a business problem but are concerned that it might be too risky, here are some questions to ask yourself.
Developing Open Innovation Talent

Developing Open Innovation Talent

Nov-24-10 By Aminda
While it has yet to appear on any lists of the year’s top jobs, the title of Open Innovation Manager is certainly an emerging career path as companies are no longer seeing open innovation as the next trend but as their next growth frontier. This leads one to ask how one qualifies for such a job and how can current college students and recent graduates position themselves to catch the wave of this business movement?  Here is an outline of how it might look.

Various tracks: innovation may often be centered around the development of technological advances however there are also plenty of opportunities in marketing & consumer research-based innovation.

Education: a specific degree in may be lacking but there are a number educational of tracks that could lead to a career in open innovation. The best options appear to be in a technical field or in business. Universities around the world are offering seminars, lectures and other forms of non-credit training on innovation that students should attend. Any innovation-focused education would best be supplemented by coursework in entrepreneurship and training in facilitation. Students should also take advantage of the many innovation competitions and challenges available like the Henkel Innovation Challenge or the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge.
Uniting Strangers to Solve Open Innovation Challenges: What’s It Like?

Uniting Strangers to Solve Open Innovation Challenges: What’s It Like?

Nov-23-10 By Stefan Lindegaard
In writing and making public presentations about open innovation, I often remind people that while process is important, in the end success comes down to having people with the right mindset and skills. So much can be accomplished when a good team comes together, even when that team consists of experts in various disciplines around the globe who are total strangers to one another.

This is an experience that, as yet, relatively few people have experienced. So the question naturally arises of what it’s like to join with a team of strangers to solve R&D challenges?

According to individuals who have participated in teams via IdeaConnection, such groups offer a rich opportunity for learning, for honing one’s own problem solving abilities, and to experience the satisfaction that comes with solving a difficult problem that might not have been solved if people were working individually.

Here’s what participants in IdeaConnection challenges report about their experience:
GE Sets the Bar for Open Innovation Reward

GE Sets the Bar for Open Innovation Reward

Nov-21-10 By Aminda
General Electric announced this week the first round of winners in the world's largest open innovation challenge. The 12 investments, totaling $55 million, represent the first dozen winners of its $200 million Ecomagination competition.  The challenge was launched in July as part of GE's commitment to creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid, and accelerating the adoption of smart grid technologies.
The challenge is backed by four venture capital firms who collectively contributed $10 million with GE contributing $45 million.
An Historical Perspective on Innovation

An Historical Perspective on Innovation

Nov-20-10 By Aminda
The great inventor Leonardo Da Vinci contributed tremendously to advancements in the arts and sciences with his study and invention in fields including human anatomy, civil engineering and optics. His designs were so advanced that it was not even feasible to construct most of them during his lifetime.

Despite his great contribution, Da Vinci had the potential to be even more effective. The man was known for working in secret, writing and drawing in coded, unorganized notebooks most of which weren't even published until hundreds of years after his death.  In our modern society, where information moves in seconds, not decades, such research, requiring a team of project managers and linguists to sort and interpret, might likely end up in the trash. While big, future-oriented ideas certainly have their place, most companies would like to break through the many immediate challenges that are hindering them from progress.
The Mark of Legitimacy?

The Mark of Legitimacy?

Nov-18-10 By Aminda
Crowdsourcing: noun the practice whereby an organization enlists a variety of freelancers, paid or unpaid, to work on a specific task or problem: Kodak used social media crowdsourcing to engage its customers in their naming contest.

While this looks like a legitimate dictionary entry, it's not. At least yet. The word crowdsourcing was among those nominated by the New Oxford American Dictionary for their Word of the Year. Unfortunately, it was beat out by "refudiate," a word invented by Sarah Palin in a misguided twitter post.

Fortunately, the selection of a Word of the Year does not mean the word will be added to Oxford dictionaries - at least any time soon. Rather the choice is based on buzz - the amount of attention the word has received over the previous year and whether its usage has grown. This is quite an accomplishment for "refudiate," a term that didn't even exist until July of this year and probably won't even be remembered this time next year. Case in point, does anyone still use "bovvered," the 2006 Word of the Year?  On the other hand, the word twitter and its many variations, none of which have made WOTY, have all become completely ingrained in our lexicon.
How To Convert Ideas Into Profitable Innovations: Three Corporate Idea-Improvement Programs

How To Convert Ideas Into Profitable Innovations: Three Corporate Idea-Improvement Programs

Nov-14-10 By Edward Glassman
Idea-improvement needs special effort in most companies. People with ideas may not have the business sense to see its potential or limitations, or the idea may lack data and clarity so no one sees its value when presented to management. An ‘Idea-Enhancement Innovation Program’ minimizes these problems by providing idea-people with the means to develop and evaluate their own idea before presentation to management, and by enabling management to make informed decisions about the idea.

I interviewed the head of ‘idea-improvement innovation programs’ in three Fortune-500 corporations to discover why they were successful. They remain anonymous.

These innovation programs solicit ideas, enhance them, and then persuade management to support the idea with resources. Such innovation support systems help idea-people to become involved in the identification and early development of ideas for new business opportunities through new technology, new products, and new processes.

In other words, these idea-enhancing programs enable people to dress up their idea before review by senior management who provide the resources for further development.

Universities Spin-out Open Innovators

Sep-20-10 By Amrat
Contrary to common perception the ideas of open innovation have been around for a very long time. These open innovation efforts however were not institutionalized. The first institutions to nurture open innovation are the universities. As compared to many commercial open innovators they have been eager 'open innovators' for decades. The traditional technological exploitation vehicle employed by universities is the spin-out company. A spin-out company will generally be a separate legal entity created to own and exploit an intellectual property resource. These created companies are therefore legally independent from the university.
IBM Eclipse

IBM Eclipse

Sep-17-10 By Amrat
In a world of knowledge spillovers, open innovation asserts that knowledge that is external to a company and therefore can be profitably exploited if matched to the firm's core competencies. The basic idea is that the boundaries between a firm and its environment have become more permeable, so innovations can transfer inward and outward. In a similar manner, unused or under-exploited internal knowledge can create revenues if properly disseminated to third parties, i.e., through licensing, joint ventures, spin-offs, etc.  IBM used this concept of Open Innovation perfectly to create the Eclipse platform, where competing companies are invited to co-operate inside an open innovation network.



The eclipse community has established a model for multiple corporations to create innovation networks. The open innovation paradigm treats R&D as open system. IBM is reinventing the way it innovates. The decision to invite outsiders and open up the innovation process reflects one of the most intriguing concepts in the corporate strategy today. IBM has built what it calls an “open ecosystem” of chip R&D with many partners like advance micro devices Sony, Toshiba and Albany nanotech etc.
Toyota’s new robot can play the violin

Toyota’s new robot can play the violin

May-14-10 By Paul Wagorn
Toyota is of course very well known for making cars, but not really for making robots - this is Honda domain. That being said, Toyota has been working on this robot for 3 years, and has now decided that it is ready for public viewing.

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