The success of the open innovation system is based essentially on the talent of its contributors, and so there has to be a strategy to identify and attract the most appropriate professionals.

Talent attraction strategy. Beyond identifying the internal talent that is critical to the innovation processes, the key to developing a successful Open Innovation System is to attract and retain external talent who are not engaged as employees, but as occasional collaborators. Engaging a larger number of experts in the innovative process is likely to bring in a greater amount of new ideas which can help in accelerating the process and also improving the final result. Apart from that, the contribution of external experts is likely to bring in new techniques of problem solving and therefore an educational experience for the internal innovators.

To attract external talent it is first necessary to foresee the kinds of challenges that the organisation is likely to face in the short-, mid- and long-term, so as to identify what types of talented professionals will be needed. According to Innocentive, leading organizations encourage the use of external talent by developing an external talent strategy plan that:

  • Seeks to understand where the challenges will lie in the transformation
  • Secures top level support
  • Integrates master agreements with external talent providers at the center
  • Creates a common language of innovation and external talent
  • Implements the processes and systems to manage and measure innovation efforts
  • Creates guidelines for when and how to use different external resources
  • Have someone who owns and manages the external innovators efforts
  • Educates employees on how to engage owners and champions
  • Recognizes and reward those who go outside in search of external support
  • Get cross-functional input into problem definition and challenge formation
  • Make resources available for integration
  • Work to make the organization more flexible and adaptable

The external talent attraction strategy should answer the following questions:

  • Who should be involved in your innovation efforts? Mention both the internal staff involved and the kinds of external talent you search for depending on the type of target outcome.
  • What types of innovation are you focused on? What types of contribution do you look for? The types of outcomes (see section 4) and contributions desired by everyone.
  • When will you be looking for innovation input? The frequency of the search for every type of input, which in some cases may be regular.
  • Where should the contributors go to bring in their inputs? The method or interface used to communicate the call for contributors and the submission of the contributions
  • Why should they be willing to contribute? The incentives and rewards offered to the contributors, encompassing not only financial rewards, but also other types of recognition.
  • How can they participate? The criteria to qualify as contributor for every innovation area, as well as the procedure to register as contributor and participate.

This article is from the White Paper “Envisioning Open Innovation in Destinations”, available for download in

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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