Organizations today can innovate more swiftly when they are open to internal talent, and the talent of all people they interact with, thus nurturing a culture of collaborative innovation.
In practice, however, they do not always know how to make effective use of this strength, or they may even lack the necessary collective will to tap into the so-called wisdom of the crowds, and take full advantage of it.
We will use this post to review the keys to building up a collective appetite for innovation. We will also show you how to mobilize the necessary resources to make collaborative innovation emerge within an organization.
Keys to drive collaborative innovation
According to this article published in the Harvard Business Review(HBR), for a collaborative innovation process to yield successful results, it should be built in three steps:
Create ideas using a channel, method and purpose.
Innovation through collaboration seeks to generate more ideas within an organization. Today, technology provides companies with numerous tools that allow their employees and main stakeholders to share and develop new ideas.
But for the process to be effective, and for the diversity of participating collaborators to generate value when sharing ideas, rather than noise, the organization must be capable of clearly conveying the goals it wishes to achieve.
Hence the importance of a culture of innovation and methodology capable of ensuring that the production of ideas is aligned with the organization’s objectives [discover our innovation management software and methodology].
This process of collective guidance should also raise certain questions among participants. What is the purpose of the idea, why is it different or innovative, and what are its costs, maturation period and possible risks, are some of the most common questions.
Co-create and make ideas grow – from seed to fruit.
In companies that can be considered agile, ideas are examined and refined continuously. This helps to initially discard some that are not feasible, and promote those that can evolve to more advanced stages of maturation.
In its article, HBR highlights how an organization’s various collaborators (among which its employees, clients and other collectives) may participate in the first phase of idea detection and improvement.
Tools such as innovation communities allow for idea co-creation, refining the best ideas and discarding those with the least potential, using mechanisms like votes from the crowd or ratings from the organization’s middle management.
This enables the generation of more ideas and establishes an initial quality filter. In agile companies, ideas are continuously questioned and reviewed, apart from being evaluated once or twice a year by a high-level committee.
Speed up time to market for ideas.
It is common for organizations to have one person with authority who determines which projects receive funding and the budget they are assigned.
Collaborative innovation processes facilitate this task. Said person, or persons, can scout the information previously provided by a large group of collaborators, including those closest to the market.
In short, companies can take advantage of their stakeholders’knowledge to create a collective prediction market and execute ideas more swiftly.
They can also gain better knowledge of the playing field within their organization, which will be useful when assigning the necessary resources to make ideas grow until they yield tangible results.