Open Innovation system development

Being one of the key assets to invigorate creativity and sustain the destination model competitive advantage, it is necessary to design a set of strategies to engage stakeholders in contributing up to leveraging the most of the collective intelligence. The open innovation platform is to unlock the creativity of all stakeholders, starting by its employees, followed by its closer partners, and beyond.

One of the key factors to make the open innovation work is to constantly connect with external networks, which are more likely to bring in new ideas than creativity alone. Based on the same principle, encouraging the network members to travel, research and learn about other destinations should nurture the innovation ecosystem with inspiring ideas.

Most productive innovation networks are characterized by a decentralized structure with many leaders who have collaborative mindsets. Such decentralization not only unlocks initiative and creativity, but also fosters further interaction and collaboration among the network members.

When developing the open innovation system there are four critical steps to follow from the design phase, to the execution and management of the network:

Connecting and organizing people:

  • Find open minded people who are motivated for innovation
  • Combine people with different approaches to innovation (idea generators, experts, producers)
  • Make sure there are members with different profile in terms of skills, seniority, and field of expertise
  • Include subgroups devoted to specific tasks and goals

Setting goals and engaging members:

  • Define the role of the innovation network and groups in relation to the organization’s mission
  • Establish innovation goals and metrics to track progress
  • Plan how to establish trust among network members and engage them quickly

Supporting and facilitating:

  • Determine technology support required for network members
  • Define additional support if necessary
  • Define key information inputs

Managing and tracking:

  • Define incentive system to reward contributions
  • Determine accountabilities and timing to track and assess performance
  • Decide who takes new responsibilities and who leaves responsibilities

When composing innovation teams for specific purposes such as business model innovation, some rules should be applied. For instance, there should be a balance between four kinds of contributors:

  • Idea generators, who come up with out-of-the-box approaches and questions to start with
  • Researchers, who bring along an analytical perspective based upon market insights
  • Experts, who bring deep knowledge in their field of expertise
  • Producers, who coordinate the activities of the network and connect with people from outside

Furthermore, mixing people from different backgrounds -in terms of education, culture, and industry expertise- is likely to bring along different approaches when trying to solve complicated challenges.

To start operating the open innovation platform, there are many steps to be followed:

  • Guarantee internet access to all internal stakeholders (partners and employees)
  • Train them on how to use the tools
  • Set up content creation contests for experiences, stories and marketing materials; setting clear rules to make sure they are aligned with the values and the mission. Everybody should be empowered to start their own story or to collaborate with others’.
  • Storytelling facilitation: stakeholders would attend training workshops on how to write stories
  • Training on business model innovation methods and frameworks to establish a common language
  • Presenting a story and other marketing contents as successful cases to inspire participation

Would you consider any other step in the development of the open innovation system?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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