Open Innovation Success Lessons: "It's the Strategy… Stupid!"
Pfizer, BASF, Lululemon, Sherwin Williams, and Unilever all agree that the number one frontier for a successful Open Innovation program is strategy alignment with corporate objectives. This message comes from the Open Innovation Forum 2014 in Baltimore where 65 innovation leaders gathered to share insights, best practices, failure, and success stories.
Strategy alignment impacts Open Innovation success in at least five ways:
- Sponsorship: When aligned with corporate objectives, going outside of the enterprise is more likely to garner the support of numerous executives and business partners that is required for initiative success.
- Funding: To achieve sufficient funding to create an Open Innovation capability versus a short-term scouting function, alignment with corporate objectives, especially the long-term goals, is essential.
- Resources: Because most organizations may support several disparate Open Innovation efforts, corporate strategy is a key lever for consolidating resources into a more formal, cohesive organization.
- Operational Hand-Offs: Open Innovation success turns on tangible outcomes, which flows from the willingness of operating businesses or business leaders to embrace the bounty of Open Innovation. Without seamless cooperation between the Open Innovation function and business units, returns may disappoint.
- Measuring Success: By achieving tight corporate objective alignment, the exercise of cascading metrics into Open Innovation becomes more feasible. Success becomes more likely.
The message is clear. In addition to doing the work of Open Innovation, leaders responsible for this capability must exert relentless effort to bind Open Innovation to the organization's corporate strategy. Failure to heed this advice will almost certainly ensure and accelerate failure.