Pop into any grocery store and before long you will have spied or even filled your shopping basket with some of the many food products made by General Mills. This Fortune 500 corporation markets many well-known brands such as Cheerios, Yoplait and Green Giant.
Underpinning some of the company’s spectacular success is its open innovation platform – the Worldwide Innovation Network (G-WIN).
So when the man who oversees that platform wants to offer advice to other companies about how to use open innovation, it’s well worth paying attention to. In an insightful column in IndustryWeek, Jeff Bellairs, director of General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network offers five tips to help companies start their own open innovation efforts.
Five Open Innovation Tips from Jeff Bellairs
Benchmark others – look at the examples of companies that have successfully used open innovation, or connected innovation (the term Bellairs uses) – and learn from them.
Start at the top – getting management buy in from the outset is imperative.
Tailor to your existing culture – there’s no “one-size-fits-all” open innovation model, so Bellairs urges companies to adapt the OI framework to their existing culture.
Go where you’re wanted – focus on the biggest potential opportunities, and also the biggest risks.
Appreciate and communicate early wins – laud open innovation success loudly to help make your case for OI. It increases your chances of sustained success.
For the full in-depth IndustryWeek article that includes how and why General Mills adopted open innovation, and its plans for the future click here.