Every organization and business is aware of the importance of innovation. It is what enables companies to have an edge when penetrating new markets, it offers a reduction in costs or a rejuvenation of an old brand. Innovation is, at its simplest, the process of turning a good idea into a solution for a challenge, but where do these good ideas come from? And how to embrace new ideas?
Many organizations rely on select focus groups, whilst others turn to their entire employee base for feedback. However, not all challenges can be solved with an internal perspective. Utilizing internal contributors is a great way to sustain engagement and gain insight into your current processes, but not all employees will be aware of the pain points your customers are facing or the focus group has too narrow of a perspective to offer insight that is applicable for your organization entire ecosystem. If this is the case, where else can you look to gather ideas?
Turn to your external stakeholders; these can consist of customers, suppliers, or partners. Offer them a chance to drive change and embrace external ideas for new solutions.
In 2008, LEGO was on the brink of bankruptcy, but turned it around by embracing the ideas that their customers had and launching LEGO Ideas. This new platform allowed fans of LEGO to contribute ideas for new LEGO sets, review current ideas that people in the public had submitted and vote for their favorites. The concept rejuvenated the brand and its relationship with customers, allowing them to launch new sets such as a Back to the Future DeLorean set and a Women of NASA Set. Through this readiness to accept new ideas, LEGO was able to see what concepts their customers were most enthused about and invest in the right ones, rather than attempting to guess ever-shifting trends.
Opening your organization to new ideas does not mean that your current innovation process has failed. In fact, overcoming this concern is the first step to embracing your external stakeholders and their contributions. External innovators are an untapped source of new perspectives and insight, being open to their ideas will support the development of any suggestions that have been raised internally, or even make you aware of an unconsidered path.
How do you embrace new ideas?
Investing in Open Innovation facilitates the new endeavor to communicate with external parties without placing a strain on your current systems. Utilizing Open Innovation to embrace new ideas from customers, suppliers and other external stakeholders leverages your internal innovation processes and creates a space where ideas can be discussed, reviewed, and developed into solutions that fit into your organization’s strategic aims.