How to Build an Innovation Ecosystem

An innovation ecosystem is a network of individuals from different functions or organizations who join forces to share their experiences and expertise in the pursuit of innovative solutions. They facilitate the flow of information and resources within and between organizations, helping transform ideas into reality.

An innovation ecosystem makes knowledge and resources more accessible to everyone. It encourages cooperation by allowing individuals with innovative ideas to connect with others who can provide advice, experience, or feedback. Today we will discuss how to build an innovation ecosystem at your company, who should be involved, and other tips for creating an effective ecosystem.

What Are the Components of an Innovation Ecosystem?

There are a couple of key ingredients that make up an innovation ecosystem:

  1. A diverse team
  2. The active flow of information

If you have successfully put both of these in your pot and give it a good stir, you are sure to end up with a delicious innovation ecosystem. Let's discuss both.

A Diverse and Passionate Team

Diversity is an essential component of how to build an innovation ecosystem. No matter how big your ecosystem is, it's not going to be very helpful if everyone has the same ideas and ways of thinking. The strength of an innovation ecosystem is in its members' diversity of backgrounds, experiences, roles, and expertise.

 

That means opening up the ecosystem to everyone. You might have a great team of engineers or innovation specialists, but that’s not enough to form a true innovation ecosystem. Go outside the obvious functions and engage people from sales, IT, HR, and the shop floor—anyone can have valuable input to share, and there are entire worlds of knowledge and ideas out there from sources you may not expect. That's right, even awkward Carl from accounting could have valuable ideas to share.

 

Finally, an essential aspect of the innovation ecosystem model is that it is cross-company. Experts at your suppliers, customers, and even other industries can bring in perspectives that you’ll never get internally. This can be the hardest part of how to build an innovation ecosystem, as companies don’t traditionally work together this closely.

Active Information Flow

An innovation ecosystem is not just a bunch of suits hanging around speculating about the next big thing. It’s critical that the information shared in the ecosystem is put to use. You must have a process in place to pipeline ideas from one phase to the next quickly and efficiently.

 

Standard operating procedures seem a little counterintuitive when it comes to innovation, but it’s a process like any other and needs procedures to ensure it works. Without them, ideas will stall or fall through the cracks and be lost.

Since an innovation ecosystem’s strength is in collaboration, members need to meet regularly and share their experiences and learnings. A monthly, quarterly, or annual meeting keeps the ecosystem engaged with one another and makes it more than just a Q&A forum.

How to Build an Innovation Ecosystem That Works

Fundamentally, an innovation ecosystem depends on the people it’s made up of. So, continually expand your ecosystem with innovators with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to encourage fresh ideas. For example, it should include upper-level managers, experienced and entry-level employees, external consultants, and people from various industries.

 

It’s also important to “sell” the innovation ecosystem to everyone involved. That means getting the word out, so employees know the ecosystem is there and how to use it. It also means convincing them they should use it. Clear procedures are one part of this, but the best way to get people enthusiastic about using the ecosystem is to show the results. Share ongoing and successful innovation projects through information sessions or your company newsletter. You may even consider setting aside time for employees to engage with the innovation ecosystem so they can explore its offerings without pressure from their other work activities.

Implementing the Innovation Ecosystem Model With rready

Why try to build an innovation ecosystem from scratch when there’s one rready and waiting for you? Our innovation ecosystem is a place where professionals, experts, coaches, and entrepreneurs come together to share their ideas and experiences. Being part of the innovation ecosystem means having instant access to experts in almost anything, all from organizations throughout the KICKBOX community. It's a community of badass innovators sharing their experiences from KICKBOX projects and exchanging learnings, ideas, and advice.

rready has been helping organizations build innovative, supportive work environments for years. We can guide you through implementing the innovation ecosystem model, creating a culture that will continuously drive productivity, growth, and employee engagement. Give your team the tools for successful innovation. If you're rready to motivate your employees and transform your business or have any other questions about how to build an innovation ecosystem, contact us today.

Get started today