How to Use Open Innovation Challenges to Your Advantage
Each company prioritizing innovation has a few goals in common: engaging their employees, encouraging collaborative ingenuity, and creating market value. The open innovation challenges that arise along the way may vary slightly from company to company. However, many of them are universally experienced. Today we are going to take you on a wonderful innovation journey and show you how to turn those common open innovation challenges into opportunities to reach your goals.
Common Open Innovation Challenges
Every industry is different, meaning innovation leaders are likely to face setbacks unique to their niche. We’ve covered each of the most frequently encountered open innovation challenges below to keep this guide as inclusive as possible. For more tailored advice, check out a few case studies to read up on innovation strategies that worked for companies like yours. But do that later, stick with us for now, we are about to get to the good part.
Low Employee Engagement
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it is the root of countless open innovation challenges. Each member of your organization plays a vital role in its operations, from customer relations to website development. To truly harness the power of this collective knowledge, employee engagement must be a top priority.
Meaningful participation often requires a cultural shift within the workplace, but it can be challenging to pinpoint the areas that need improvement in your company’s culture. Consider comparing your business practices with the standards set forth by environmental social governance (ESG). Employees are people, and people feel good about supporting companies that align with their values. More mindful business processes can also enhance your brand’s image and conserve company resources.
Lack of Business Process Transparency
Often, companies attempt to facilitate collaboration without taking a moment to reflect on the transparency of their business processes. Business process transparency is essential for a few reasons, which include:
- Validation - Idea validation is the first step in any innovation process, but it doesn’t end after the initial pitch of the idea. Collaboration only happens when employees feel that they have a safe, meaningful space to share their thoughts. Encourage your team to work together by showing them that they are an integral part of the process rather than a tool to move innovation forward.
- Inclusivity - The best innovation leaders know that feedback is a crucial component of corporate innovation. Unfortunately, when discussing feedback through the lens of innovation management, people’s minds often drift towards feedback about the project itself. However, feedback regarding your company’s innovation practices as a whole can be infinitely valuable for streamlining your current processes. Make sure there is a straightforward process for collecting data about both.
- Motivation - Concepts grow and change over time, making the innovation process a nonlinear (and sometimes confusing) timeline. Tracking the progression of your innovation efforts and making that progression visible to every team member ensures that employees will remain engaged, active, and thoughtful throughout the entire process.
In short, innovation leaders should prioritize clarifying the innovation timeline for each organization member. At rready, we accomplish this by providing each employee with a KICKBOX innovation kit. It contains a roadmap describing each stage of the innovation process, making it easier to follow than a set of IKEA instructions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with the Swedish meatballs, but we’re working something out.
Technological Stumbling Blocks
Modern businesses rely on a portfolio of software and applications, especially at the enterprise level. But, aside from organizing ideas and action items, the right technology can also facilitate collaboration and scalability. Sometimes, companies looking to prioritize innovation create their own platform to support their efforts.
But this can add to the pile of open innovation challenges by creating a heavier maintenance workload for your development team. Instead, we recommend partnering with a comprehensive innovation management solution that includes the supportive technology your company needs to optimize the innovation process.
Combatting Open Innovation Challenges With Competitive Challenges
Here's the part of the recipe where we get to the secret sauce. Equipping yourself with the right innovation toolkit will set you up for success, but here is where we teach you how to throw fuel on the fires of ingenuity. One of our favorite ways to combat open innovation challenges is with (drumroll, please) open innovation challenges! Okay, so maybe that didn't warrant a drumroll. Allow us to explain.
Remember when you were in school, and no one wanted to participate in an activity? Then, the teacher incentivized it by offering a pizza party or a homework pass, and suddenly everyone wanted to be involved? This solution follows that same line of thinking, but it's been modified to accommodate the fact that any of us can just go out and get our own pizza on a whim. Isn't adulting grand?
Gamification is far from a novel idea—it’s been used in the entertainment and advertising industries for decades. In recent years, it has begun to spread to other sectors due to its ability to motivate employees and strengthen their bonds with the companies they work for. The main idea behind gamification is to reach employees emotionally by engaging their natural inclination to play, compete, and be rewarded. Gamification reduces the fear of participation and facilitates an open innovation environment.
Cultivating an Innovation-friendly Culture With Gamification
There are several ways gamification can impact your innovation efforts. For example, someone invested in the gamified approach will be less likely to lose interest throughout the trial-and-error processes of innovation. It also helps unite business goals with employees’ personal goals. The most tangible benefits of gamification will be felt in terms of employee engagement, so companies in need of a cultural revamp would do well to implement a gamified innovation plan.
rready, Set, Go!
You didn’t think we’d leave you hanging without a solution that can help you accomplish all the above, did you? rready’s KICKBOX wraps employee engagement, easy-to-follow methodology, and supportive technology into one neatly wrapped package. Companies can’t solve open innovation challenges with consulting alone, so we decided to craft a more comprehensive approach.