Open Innovation Works

Table of Contents

Dan Toma, Esther Gons and I (Diana Joseph) are cooking up something new!  Pleased to share our new project:  Open Innovation Works, the 3rd in Esther & Dan’s series along with The Corporate Startup (with Tendayi Viki) and Innovation Accounting.  

For us, open innovation is an imperative at this volatile time.  Large firms need more ecosystem engagement than ever before.  But given corporate structures, open innovation success might not be as simple as just deciding to open up.  We’re eager to tell stories and share frameworks to ease your path.  

In the spirit of open innovation, we’re eager to take advantage of outside perspectives.  Let’s get started!  We’d love your thoughts on the table of contents.   Do we have it right?  What are we missing?


1. Why do we need open innovation?

Large organizations are often limited in the degree to which they can explore uncertain or complex challenges. Open innovation is partnership with outside entities such as startups, small businesses and governments that can move faster, more locally, with different incentives or with more diverse sources of capital. But open innovation is not for everyone, some companies might need it more than others and some might actually not need it at all.  Does your organization need open innovation?  Find out with our quiz!  

2. How does an open innovation ecosystem work?

Open innovation takes place in a complex exchange system — participants give, and also receive.  In this chapter we dig into how those exchanges work to create a stable backdrop for exploration, what large firms need to contribute, and how they can receive the benefits.  This chapter will also describe the pros and cons of all the ways you can engage with your ecosystem. 


3. How do you get ready to play in the ecosystem?

Start by aligning your internal stakeholders – gather your allies around a single set of shared strategic goals and tactical commitments.  Use our dashboard to guide this alignment process and learn exactly what you need to do to build that alignment.  In the next several chapters, we’ll walk through the dashboard step by step.

4. Vision & Mission

Your firm already has a vision — it’s probably on your website and displayed in your lobby.  What will your open innovation works take on in support of that vision?  How will you inspire and focus the energies of your internal stakeholders as well as your external partners?  

5. Strategy

Define the goals for your open innovation play:  What will you aim to achieve for customers? What will you aim to achieve financially?  What will you aim to achieve in terms of purpose? 

6. Tactics

In order to realize your open innovation mission and achieve your goals, you’ll need some commitments from internal stakeholders up front:  How will your organization draw in learnings from your open innovation journey?  How will your culture change in terms of incentives and messages so that staff recognizes the invitation to invest time in your open innovation plan?  What processes need to change so that your partnerships thrive instead of getting stuck in your gears?  And what resources are your stakeholders committing — time, treasure, equipment, materials, etc?  

7. How to choose an innovation vehicle.

You know what your ecosystem needs.  Your stakeholders are aligned. What are you actually going to do to generate partners?  Sponsor a backbone organization?  Hold events?  Create a competition?  Work with a 3rd party accelerator or VC?  Develop your own?  Engage proof-of-concept and pilot projects?  We’ll walk you through a framework to help you decide.

8. OKRs & Metrics

You need to measure your progress to know what’s working or what’s not, and how close you are to the finish line in terms of your goals. Drawing on co-authors Gons & Toma’s work in Innovation Accounting, we’ll develop OKRs for each strategic goal and each tactical commitment — we’ll even measure the learning you acquire along the way.  


9. Start tomorrow.

Complete our self-audit to find out what’s next for you on your open innovation journey — what strengths can you draw on, and what do you need to build?