I recently reconnected with Barry Libert. We used to cross paths during my days in Marketing at InnoCentive in Boston, where he serves on the Board of Directors. He has recently launched his own consulting firm, called Open Matters. It stands to reason that someone with his depth of experience in open-innovation or “crowd-sourcing” would decide to offer executive level support for organizations looking to be more open, after years of working with them on the topic. His firm will know how to put clients on the right track, but there are many organizations trying on open innovation for size, with little direction at all.
The main reason that so few of these organizations succeed with open innovation is that they don’t always understand all the nuances of enabling innovators on one hand, and they don’t have the tools or motivation to break out of their corporate cycle of thinking “it’s all about us”. I’ll give you the most recent example I’ve come across.
A few weeks ago at SXSWi, I ran into Nokia promoting their version of open-innovation. I was at the Entrepreneur’s Lounge one night and a representative came up to speak to me. As it turned out Nokia had sponsored the event, and they were promoting their take on open innovation, IdeasProject. This sponsorship may have garnered them attention, but I doubt they received the type of response they were looking for. Here’s where they went wrong, in my opinion:
- Don’t try to recruit creative ideas for free, from entrepreneurs. They know better.
- Offer something more tangible than a chance to win. This is IP we’re talking about.
- Back up your style of open innovation with results. Otherwise it come across like a guarantee from the lottery.
Don’t get me wrong, Nokia may well get the ideas they need for the applications they want to build. But if they want to truly practice open innovation, they will have to dig deeper to get my participation.