Beyond the elaboration of an adequate strategy to develop the Open Innovation System, the implementation process is the critical phase that determines whether the system is more or less likely to attain its goals, and so there are some key factors to take into account in order to make sure that it is going to work:

Understanding of the purpose. First of all, it is necessary that leaders and stakeholders understand all the potential benefits of developing an Open Innovation System. This can only be possible by “selling the vision” to them.  

Assigning roles and responsibilities. Once the vision and purpose are understood, it is essential that every stakeholder knows what it is expected from him or her, what they should do. When selling the vision, it is beneficial to use storytelling in order to explain all the different types of contributions.

Culture change. Probably the most important of the key factors, collaborative innovation, requires a significant mindset shift throughout the organisation. Building a culture of innovation and collaboration is a long journey that pays off with amazing results.

Developing the competences. This challenge entails also developing new skills and competences in leadership, creative thinking, operation of the innovation tools, etc. There has to be a training plan for every type of role or contributor to optimize the chances of success.

Attaining early wins to boost engagement. Such a new and complex challenge does not easily engage all stakeholders. Rather, it starts by engaging a few of them, and only after some successful stories are presented, do the mainstream stakeholders start to join.

Celebrating successes. Beyond attaining milestones, it is necessary to reward contributors and give public recognition to all those who made success possible. This is one of the most powerful motivators to further engage current contributors and engage new participants.

Tracking progress. As in any implementation process, it is essential to develop a series of metrics to monitor how the development of the system is progressing. KPIs allow us to understand what is working well and what needs to be changed.

Prioritizing wisely. As in the development of any plan, priorities must be clear from the outset. Priorities refer to the key people to get involved, the milestone wins to achieve, the innovation projects to establish, etc. so as to optimally assign the resources available.

Formulate innovation challenges accurately. The challenge approach is the most appropriate to find the right solution, but bear in mind that the way you formulate it has a key impact on how participants think about the problem and the thought processes they use.

Communicate results, rewards and recognition. You have to communicate in order to motivate; and the primary motivators are the results obtained, the public recognition given to contributors, and the compensation, which has to be stated at the launch of the challenge.

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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