5 Ways To Solve Open Innovation Challenges

open innovation tools

Table of Contents

Approaching a new strategy or practice for innovation is bound to have growing pains. As open innovation becomes a more widespread concept, several common issues tend to arise. This guide aims to provide context and practical solutions to help organizations navigate these challenges effectively.

Do Open Innovation Challenges Even Exist?

Yes, open innovation challenges are real and increasingly prevalent in today’s business landscape. These challenges involve inviting external stakeholders such as customers, partners, and academics to contribute ideas and solutions to various business problems. The goal is to tap into a broader pool of knowledge and creativity to drive innovation.

What Challenges Are the Most Common?

Some of the most common challenges organizations face when implementing open innovation include:

  • Collecting useful contributions
  • Reaching the right people
  • Maintaining order and highlighting the best ideas
  • Encouraging collaboration
  • Creating accessibility to motivate participation

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5 Ways To Solve Open Innovation Challenges

1. Give People Guidance

Viewpoint overlooking a city (open innovation tools blog)

One of the biggest challenges when opening your organization to outside perspectives is ensuring that you’re collecting useful contributions. Companies often fear that channels will be overwhelmed with irrelevant ideas.

Solution: Limit the scope of your open innovation project. Clearly communicate what you hope to achieve so that contributors can send in relevant ideas. Use  innovation management software that allows you to set structured challenges and include the necessary details to make informed decisions. This approach also reduces the time internal teams spend reviewing ideas, as contributions are more likely to align with the organization’s overall strategy. Spend time before the project begins to establish desired outcomes and create a coherent challenge for stakeholders to engage with.

2. Reach the Right People

Open innovation offers the opportunity to gain external insights, but many organizations make the mistake of involving every group of stakeholders in every challenge. This can lead to lack of engagement, irrelevant suggestions, and frustration among internal teams.

Solution: Use an open innovation tool that allows you to target specific groups and monitor contributors. This helps you get the best quality suggestions because you can select external stakeholders who understand the broader context related to the challenge.

3. Create Order to Highlight the Best Ideas

The biggest deterrent to open innovation is the perception that it leads to chaos within an organization. Establishing processes is the best way to manage innovation within both internal and external ecosystems.

Solution: Standardize processes to improve the quality of contributions and the number of ideas that progress to the next stage of your innovation process. Utilizing these processes does not restrict creativity but supports it by providing a clear structure. Invest in software that makes these processes repeatable will not only drive adoption of the open innovation funnel , but will facilitate easier review cycles for internal employees.

4. Encourage Collaboration

Implementing a process and educating your internal teams on it will help integrate external stakeholders as innovators within your organization. Many organizations view external innovators as separate entities, which can negatively impact collaboration.

Solution: Adopt an open innovation tool that supports structured innovation processes. Engagement will increase if external stakeholders can understand the journey they are on, receive appropriate feedback on their ideas, and know why certain ideas are or aren’t taken forward.

5. Create Accessibility to Support Contributor Motivation

Man walking along a freeway (open innovation tools blog)

The biggest challenge with open innovation is ensuring engagement from external stakeholders. How can you motivate your audience to participate?

Solution: First, frame the challenge in a way that the audience can interact with. Ask questions they can answer, and implement processes so that challenges follow a routine format to maximize engagement. Secondly,look at the platform you are using to innovate. Use an open innovation tool that encourages collaboration among external contributors and internal teams. Feedback is essential for maintaining motivation. Positive and constructive feedback promotes growth both in the individual and the idea itself. Finding the right open innovation tool that embeds collaboration into the user interface is crucial to overcoming these challenges. Standardizing innovation within your organization will sustain engagement from external contributors and support internal processes and review stages, driving the adoption of the scheme.

Conclusion: Solving Open Innovation Challenges

Successfully addressing open innovation challenges involves providing clear guidance, reaching the right people, creating order, encouraging collaboration, and making participation accessible. By focusing on these strategies, organizations can effectively harness external insights and drive innovation.

FAQs For Open Innovation Tools

What is an open innovation tool?

Enterprise-level businesses use open innovation tools to source ideas and suggestions from external sources, such as clients, partner organizations, and academics. An open innovation tool provides a central area to capture and review suggestions before converting them into live projects.

Why are innovation tools important for businesses?

Organizations use innovation tools to capture ideas and store them in a centralized location, before turning the most useful into live projects. Using an innovation tool prevents valuable suggestions from being lost.

Who uses open innovation tools?

Innovation and business change teams use open innovation tools to source ideas from outside their organization. This helps them to create new products and services, solve business challenges, or reduce their environmental impact.

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