Archivo del July, 2013

Ten tips to boost open innovation in SMEs









If you’re running a small or medium-size company and want it to be successful, you should seriously consider open innovation.

Open innovation is about surpassing the boundaries of a firm to create synergies with external partners and come up with new services or products.

One of our researchers at the IIK, ESADE Visiting Professor Wim Vanhaverbeke, recently attended the EuroSME 2013 conference in Dublin to share tips to boost open innovation in SMEs.

We’ve put together the major key outcomes from the stimulating panel discussion among open innovation practitioners.

Tips to promote open innovation:

1. Focus on common objectives

All partners involved in open innovation need to understand upfront what the common rules and goals are. If these are not commonly agreed on, they need to accept that it’s not going to work.

2. Know the differences up front

The more diverse the partners, the more difficult it becomes to manage the consortium. Knowing the differences up front erases half of the problem.

3. Find a neutral party

If you have larger consortia, you need to have an orchestrator – a neutral party that can be a public authority – to make sure that everyone dances in the same way.

4. Commit

Open innovation is not about speed dating, but a bigger and longer commitment.

5. Keep it simple

Keep the processes as simple as possible. SMEs need to have a very clear agreement with their partners of what each of the involved actors wishes to get out of the collaboration.

6. Build trust

Open innovation is related to partnership, partnership is related to trust, and trust is related to reputation. If you start building on this ecosystem, trust is essential for successful innovation.

7. Explore government opportunities

Even though there should be no direct interference, the government can take quite a lot of actions to facilitate open innovation in SMEs.

8. Embrace uncertainty

Several company leaders think that ifthey keep innovation in-house, they will be able to effectively control the process. Let go of the fear and uncertainty concerning the changes that open innovation will bring about. Accept that innovations change the way the company works and the power balance within the company.

9. Overcome the hurdle of regulation

Some innovations don’t become mainstream because they fail to pass regulatory hurdles. Don’t let regulation kill your business and overcome the hurdles.

10. Increase visibility through networking

There are many fine examples of open innovation, but they are often not visible enough. Pushing networking between academia and companies is key to sharing market knowledge and increasing visibility.


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