The Freestyle soda dispenser and electric spa concept car are two of thousands of products created through open innovation. A collaborative process, open innovation occurs when businesses invite employees, inventors, customers and others to share ideas, work together on projects and create new products. Implement open innovation in your company to gain at least five benefits.
Despite all your efforts at creating new products, the finished object might not work or sell. Minimize this risk and your losses when you allow others to do the research, invent the product and test the idea for you.
- Improve Marketing
Involve more people in developing your products and services, and your potential for viral marketing expands with tools such as Visme. You also improve customer targeting and market research when you partner with others.
- Save Money
If your company wants to develop new products, you could spend thousands of dollars and months or even years performing the research, creating the product and testing it. Open innovation utilizes the work others have already done, which frees up your resources and saves you money.
- Level the Playing Field
Your company, no matter what its size, may not have access to new technology, OTT Apps or other tools that allow you to compete with other businesses in your niche. Thanks to open innovation, you attract and share talent, which levels the playing field.
- Respond Better to Change
When you create a new product or service, you tend to get attached to it and may not respond appropriately to changes your clients or customers request. Use open innovation to encourage and motivate you to adjust to changes that improve your company.
If your business wants to gain these and other benefits, improve open innovation in several ways.
Foster an Innovative Corporate Culture
Encourage employees to share measurable and actionable ideas via a shared Google doc, email or videos. Your employees, customers and clients may then vote on the suggestions before you test the best ideas. This spirit of cooperation improves the feeling of ownership in your company and fosters an innovative corporate culture that invites collaboration.
Place a comment box in a prominent place in your company, include a comment survey on sales receipts and add a comment section on your website. When employees, customers and clients share their ideas, suggestions and even complaints, you receive valuable input that can improve your company.
Host a Competition
Get your employees, customers and the public excited about creating new ideas when you host a competition. Invite people to solve a problem, change a current product, create an interesting infograph or invent a whole new concept as you gather fresh ideas and content.
Reward New Ideas
A cash prize, recognition or other incentive can motivate your team and customers to think outside of the box. Offer rewards each quarter to the best new suggestions as you invite innovation.
Avoid Punishing Small Mistakes
Employees who take risks also exercise their creativity and innovation. Encourage that atmosphere rather than punish it when you train management to avoid micromanaging and to accept the reality of small mistakes. Employees should also understand that they will receive support when they suggest or try new ideas, even if their brainstorms don’t work out as expected.
Switch Jobs for 24 Hours
Something as simple as working in a different department, sitting at a new desk or facing unusual challenges can jumpstart your employees’ creativity. Host company-wide job switches occasionally where your team members work in a different department for the day or arrange for job switching with another company in your city. Afterward, hold a debrief meeting to share the perspectives and insights everyone has learned.
Host an Open House
Invite your customers, clients and the public to tour your company’s physical location. After the tour, ask participants to complete a survey and share their thoughts on your operation. Insights from an outsider can give you new ideas you can use to improve operations and build your brand.
Shake up your company with talented interns. As they work on projects and observe your operations, they can provide feedback that prompts your company to launch new products and services.
Think Like a Customer
Encourage your employees to put themselves in your customer’s shoes and focus on their needs. Through this unique brainstorming experience, you may discover new ideas and products that expand your company and allow you to provide even better customer service.
Open innovation improves your company, so encourage and embrace it in several ways. Your company and clients will be better because of these changes.