As a major corporation, implementing an Open Innovation strategy is about changing the culture of the company so that people within the company feel ready and able to share not only about ‘what they know’ but also about ‘what they don’t know’.
It is first of all an internal issue: daring sharing ‘what you know’ within the R&D department, turning internal experts into collaborative champions, and beyond R&D involving all employees to contribute with new ideas tackles areas related to Knowledge Management, Collaborative Platforms, organizing Ideas Challenges, sharing Best Practises, Training, etc. Quite a challenge by itself.
Then it becomes another one to get involved in the goal of having experts and R&D people start admitting and sharing ‘what they don’t know’: meaning a problem they have identified and that they don’t know how to tackle or solve. How to get them daring doing it among themselves, within the R&D team, and with other colleagues beyond the R&D or Innovation teams requires a whole cultural change by itself.
When it comes to interacting with the external ecosystem of potential partners (startups, developers, academics, customers, suppliers if not competitors) it becomes of course even more of a challenge. If a company manager in charge of Scouting startups goes and presents what he believes is an innovative IT startup or a biotech one to his R&D expert colleague, most of the time this expert may not admit he does know not about them or even worse may say their technology is not that impressive to preserve his ‘expertise’ status. Quite human after all … so how to adapt organizations, processes and skills to change these contradictory objectives and behaviors ?
As a Corporation willing to implement an Open Innovation strategy, learning about how to dare telling ‘what you don’t know’ internally and externally becomes a great challenge.
But the opportunities are huge : the opportunity to create leadership through an ability to share what you don’t know because you are faster and more efficient (than your competitors) at implementing the value you get back from it !
Welcome into Open Innovation !