An open door to open innovation
Open innovation isn’t just about building better products and services – it’s a transformation in how we think about business and indeed the world around us.
Already we’re finding examples of open innovation far and wide – from Germany to the UK, from telecoms to aerospace. Here are just some of the great stories that have given us inspiration for innovation.
Can open innovation really impact the bottom line? British Telecom (BT) estimates to have generated a staggering 10,000 new ideas worth some 120m Euros in increased revenue and cost savings since 2005.
BT’s concept is Idea Management – an ongoing project that aims to stimulate and capture great ideas from everyone coming into contact with its brand - from staff to suppliers to end users.
BT offers serious money to those whose ideas come to commercial fruition (up to 30,000 Euros). The result: ideas that tackle issues such as how the telecoms giant can engage with the London Olympics in 2012.
Procter & Gamble
How seriously does Procter & Gamble (P&G) take open innovation?
More than 50 percent of its product initiatives now involve significant collaboration with outside parties.
This has largely been achieved through P&G Connect + Develop - a phenomenally successful e-nnovation platform that has connected the consumer giant to suppliers, inventors and partners.
The result: A staggering 1,000-plus active agreements with innovation partners. At the Connect & Develop platform, visitors can do three key things:
- Come with their own ideas for improving products or creating new ones
- Browse the P&G ‘wish list’ to see if they can offer ideas that P&G actively needs
- Check out P&G’s current trademarks and patents – to see how the experts do it (and presumably ensure no clashes or duplication of effort)
We like it.
KLM has established an innovation platform called F-fwrd based on the simple premise that those who act quickest and literally ‘fast forward’ their actions will benefit the most – especially in challenging economic times.
The airline is collaborating with its staff and customers through F-fwrd in three key areas:
- Creating new value streams based on everything from biofuels to e-enabled aircraft
- Embedding innovative new routines including a culture of venturing and co-creation
- Making innovation part of the DNA not just through the technology platform but through incentive and engagement programs for all
As KLM succinctly says: “Open innovation and co-creation are becoming the norm for developing new concepts.”
General Electric (GE) was looking for some bright ideas in the emerging "smart" electric grid space in 2010. So it asked the outside world for their ideas.
GE launched the ecomagination challenge - a competition in which inventors and potential business partners were asked to devise technologies that might drive the development and adoption of smart-grid related products and services.
The result? GE received 4,000 submissions. In return it was very generous - giving some $100,000 cash to five different companies. What’s more it formed strategic partnerships with 12 more, all of whom are now expected to help GE's business across a range of areas - from energy storage and utility security to energy management software and electric-vehicle charging services.
It’s yet more proof (it were needed) that open innovation really does work.