Open Innovation Platforms: A Look at Transformation in Business

By Michael Watkins

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The ability to innovate beyond traditional boundaries is a crucial driver of success. ‘Open innovation’ is a concept that revolutionizes how organizations approach problem-solving and opportunity discovery. By definition, open innovation allows organizations to transcend their usual limits, engaging a diverse crowd of problem solvers who can break down industry, location, and language barriers. This approach leverages external sources of ideas and insights, merging them with internal efforts to propel innovation forward.

What is Open Innovation?

The core principle of open innovation is that in a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely solely on their own research but should instead buy or license processes or inventions (e.g., patents) from other companies. Furthermore, internal inventions not being used in a firm’s business should be taken outside the company (e.g., through licensing, joint ventures, spin-offs). This model stands in contrast to the traditional ‘closed innovation’ model that restricts innovation to the organizational boundaries.

The Role of Open Innovation Platforms

An open innovation platform, like Wazoku Crowd which boasts millions of connected problem solvers worldwide, effectively making innovation accessible and scalable, serves as a digital meeting ground where organizations and external innovators can collaborate. These platforms facilitate the exchange of ideas and resources, making it easier to tackle challenges that no single entity could solve alone.

Features of Effective Open Innovation Platforms:

Accessibility: Ensuring easy access for a diverse set of contributors.

Collaboration Tools: Providing robust tools that facilitate seamless collaboration and communication.

Intellectual Property Management: Safeguarding the ideas and innovations shared across the platform.

Integration Capabilities: Allowing for easy integration with existing business processes and systems.

Collaborative Innovation and Its Impact

Collaborative innovation refers to the synergetic act of sharing knowledge, skills, and goals to achieve breakthrough innovations. This approach not only amplifies the innovation potential by pooling diverse perspectives but also accelerates the innovation process. Through collaborative efforts, businesses can leverage the collective expertise of a global talent pool to address complex challenges.

Want to learn more about how Wazoku has made collaborative innovation a gamechanger for the world’s biggest businesses? Read our customer stories here!

Benefits of Collaborative Innovation:

Speed to Market: Faster development and deployment of new solutions.

Risk Reduction: Shared expertise and insights can help predict and mitigate potential failures.

Cost Efficiency: Reduces the cost of R&D by spreading it across multiple stakeholders.

Increased Creativity: Harnesses diverse viewpoints leading to more innovative solutions.

Crowdsourcing as a Pillar of Open Innovation

Crowdsourcing is a pivotal element of open innovation. It involves tapping into the collective intelligence of a large group of people to generate ideas, solve problems, and complete tasks. The rise of digital technology has greatly facilitated crowdsourcing efforts by providing platforms where organizations can connect with innovators across the globe.

Key Aspects of Successful Crowdsourcing:

Clear Objectives: Setting clear, actionable goals for the crowd.

Engagement Strategies: Developing methods to engage participants and maintain their interest.

Reward Systems: Implementing effective incentive structures to motivate contributions.

Feedback Loops: Establishing mechanisms for providing constructive feedback to participants.

Challenge Driven Innovation®: A Case Study Approach

Challenge Driven Innovation® is an approach where specific challenges are posed to solicit targeted solutions. This method is particularly effective in harnessing the power of open innovation as it provides a clear focus and facilitates measurable outcomes. At Wazoku, we leverage our platform to pose real-world Challenges and gather innovative solutions from its vast crowd of problem solvers.

Steps to Implementing Challenge Driven Innovation®:

Define the Challenge: Clearly articulate the problem you are trying to solve.

Engage the Crowd: Utilize an open innovation platform to reach a wide audience.

Evaluate Solutions: Set criteria for evaluating submissions to ensure alignment with organizational goals.

Implement Innovations: Integrate successful solutions into the business strategy.

Conclusion

Open innovation represents a paradigm shift in how organizations approach creativity and problem-solving. By embracing open innovation platforms, collaborative innovation, crowdsourcing, and challenge-driven innovation®, businesses can not only enhance their competitive edge but also contribute to a more innovative future.

Wazoku’s recognition by the Center for Transformation of Work underscores the effectiveness and transformative potential of embracing open innovation. As we move towards a more interconnected and collaborative world, the principles of open innovation will increasingly become fundamental to achieving sustainable growth and success in any industry.

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By Michael Watkins

Michael is Wazoku's Product and Brand Marketing lead. Away from the office, he's our resident film buff, so if you want some recommendations for a night in front of Netflix or a trip to your local cinema, get in touch with him!