Innovation

Should you be starting external collaboration?

external collaboration

Table of Contents

For many organizations worldwide innovation is handled primarily through the knowledge and input of its employees. Internal innovation can be done through a variety of means; employee forums are often hosted to gather ideas regarding current organizational challenges, or more recently teams of innovation management offices have become more common within businesses. These teams are tasked with reviewing, progressing, and re-evaluating the organization’s innovative activities.

However, the world is currently facing unprecedented times, organizations are facing new and unexpected challenges that require insight past the employees’ expertise. For many, this has raised the question as to where, and more importantly, how can an organization gain the necessary information to overcome the challenges they’re facing? Here’s where external collaboration comes in.

Why organizations often don’t use external collaboration

Internal collaboration as initiatives ‘often meet with resistance because they place an extra burden on individuals’[1]. However, organizations choose to continually focus on them as ‘the potential benefits of collaboration are significant: innovative cross-unit product development, increased sales through cross-selling, the transfer of best practices that reduce costs’[2]. With remote working becoming more normal, the importance of collaboration is being highlighted to individuals. Innovation software is also becoming more user friendly and supporting collaboration through integration into everyday collaboration tools. This integration removes the burden from your employees, but many organizations are still hesitant to widen their channels to include external parties.

Concerns surrounding competitor intervention and intellectual property often surround conversations regarding external collaboration. To some engaging with the collective intelligence of customers, partners, suppliers, and more is off the table solely due to these complications. Much like internal collaboration transparency and establishing levels of ownership will often mitigate these concerns and discover the technology that can support that.

external collaboration is best carried out digitally

Why you should be collaborating externally

Gaining the ability to collaborate externally opens your organization up to an ever-expanding pool of knowledge. Partners and suppliers have an in-depth understanding of networks and materials used in the development of products, but also possess an outside perspective on current processes. Leveraging their insights could create opportunities for more sustainable deliverables.

Organizations such as L’Oréal and Renault have collaborated previously on an electric “spa” concept car[3]. Lego has engaged customers to generate new ideas for collectibles and other products. Governments and public health bodies often collaborate with academics to develop crucial research. External collaboration with stakeholders enables organizations no matter the industry to expand their innovation capabilities and leverage necessary information to develop solutions that support the organization’s strategy and have a lasting impact.

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How edison365 can support external collaboration

By utilizing existing investments, organizations can start to carry out external collaboration with customers, partners, suppliers, volunteers, and many more. Built on Office 365, edison365ideas and Open Innovation enable organizations to capture the voices of both their internal and external stakeholders, this can be achieved by targeting specific groups or making challenges open for anyone with an idea to contribute. Maximize the potential of ideas gathered by triaging them against KPIs that matter to your organization.

[1] https://hbr.org/2009/04/when-internal-collaboration-is-bad-for-your-company

[2] https://hbr.org/2009/04/when-internal-collaboration-is-bad-for-your-company

[3] https://hbr.org/2017/12/open-innovation-generates-great-ideas-so-why-arent-companies-adopting-them

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