One of the most important things to remember about open innovation is that it’s not just something that a business does. You can go a long way by investing in an innovation platform to find experts, startups, information, and other external partners and concepts, but open innovation also has to be something that a business embodies.
To be fully effective and successful, it must be woven into the culture of a business so that innovation is a core part of the personality of the workplace. It’s not easy to change or create a workplace culture, though. It takes time, patience, and strategy. You must have a commitment from management to implement it while gaining a similar commitment from employees. Here are some tips to help.
One of the most important aspects of change management is communication. If your business has run a certain way for a long time, then your employees will be resistant to change. This will be especially true of those in your R&D department, or any other division that may feel threatened by open innovation. Communication is so important to express how the changes will benefit not only the company but the staff as well. With an innovative workplace, collaboration should be a touchstone of everything you do.
Make sure as well that communication can run both ways. Yes, you will be disseminating information to your staff, but also allow for them to communicate with you about their concerns, comments, and even any ideas they might have.
Get your staff familiar with platforms like ideXlab to see how open innovation can work. These platforms are a crucial connection between companies and outside partners with ideas and concepts to contribute. The more transparent you are about why you are evolving, the more success you will have to change your culture to support it.
Get Everyone Involved
In a culture of open innovation, everyone can be involved. That’s one of the beautiful things. Ideas can come from outside partners, and inside sources as well. Make your staff stakeholders in the success of your evolution. Ask for input from your staff.
See what they think are the things your business does best, and where innovation can really help. Ask what types of outside stakeholders would be the best fits. Everyone from VPs to the mailroom can participate. While there is still definitely a hierarchy, a culture of open innovation allows for a free interchange of ideas.
Celebrate successes, no matter how minor they may seem to you. For someone at your company, it may be a major thing. Not only that, but foster an environment where taking risks is encouraged, and missteps are treated as learning opportunities as opposed to reasons for punishment. A workplace where everyone is in fear of losing their jobs at a moment’s notice will not be a fertile ground for innovation.
In an open innovation culture, you will absolutely need people with technical skills and creativity. But just as important are people with superior soft skills. These people will work with customers and partners to build relationships and keep the flow of collaboration going. These types of workers tend to have the emotional intelligence to be able to handle change and uncertainty and will be able to handle evolution better than most.
They can be problem solvers, ego-boosters, and dispute managers who have their eyes on the goal and have everyone’s wants and needs in mind at all times. An effective innovation platform is an absolute must for open innovation. It allows the company to scout for new difference-makers and make connections with them. Someone with soft skills can then develop that relationship as time goes on to make it as successful for everyone as possible.
Leveraging open innovation can bring your business to heights it has never seen, and open new pathways to success. To get the most out of it, you need a culture in your business to support it.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.