Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation

Comments Off on Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation
Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation LoadingADD TO FAVORITES
Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Genzyme, and General Electric are often credited with having attained market leadership through open innovation strategies.  That is, by tapping into and exploiting technological knowledge that resided beyond their own R&D structures, these companies outmaneuvered rivals that relied largely on in-house innovation. While other organizations try to follow the example set by these trailblazers, research by Eoin Whelan, Salvatore Parise, Jasper de Valk and Rick Aalbers shows that many are failing because they neglect to ensure that the outside ideas reach the people best equipped to exploit them. As they point out in “Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation,” in the September 21, 2011 MIT Sloan Management Review, there is a way to change this path for the better.  Whelan is a lecturer in information management at the Kemmy Business School of the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland.  Parise is an associate professor of information systems at Babson College in Waltham, Massachusetts.  De Valk is a consultant at VODW in Leusden, the Netherlands.  Aalbers is a manager at Deloitte Consulting in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. They explain that by understanding the roles of two types of innovation brokers — “idea scouts” and “idea connectors” — in the open innovation process and by utilizing their talents effectively, managers can preside over major improvements in the conversion of external knowledge into innovative outcomes. Idea scouts are integral to the open innovation process.  They act as the R&D unit’s antennae, tuned to emerging scientific and technological developments that are broadcast from around the globe.  Web resources — such as online forums, RSS feeds, industry blogs, and search engine inquiries — are the primary means through which they keep abreast of emerging technologies and industry trends. While idea scouts are very well-connected to knowledge sources outside the company, they tend to possess very few strong connections internally.  Without this effective internal distribution network, their contributions to an open innovation strategy are limited. More than ever, in-house ideas connectors...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Business Briefings subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $135/year

  • Get 12 months of Business Briefings that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Business Briefings Research Library
  • Optional Business Briefings monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% pro-rata refund