In the university, we learn the models for innovation, such as open innovation (Chesborough) and the salmon model (Orjasaeter). However, in real life, these models are more complex and harder to make work. In an interview, James Todhunter from Invention Machine says that in real life, most organization find it hard to derive value from open innovation, and that co-operation starting out with good intentions, the programs stall. Knowing how to avoid this is a key feature of innovation management.
He further says that innovation is everyone’s job at a company, and that open innovation is useful for making employees initiatives being viewed as opportunities and not threats. However, innovation do not “just happen”, and an innovation department is essential to create a culture and a context where innovation can happen. Communication, flowing in all directions, he lists as the key element to make open innovation work.
When the ideas are gathered, deciding what options to pursue, Todhunter uses the 3F method; fit, feasibility and finance. The innovation must fit your need and differentiate your product. It must be feasible for your organization’s business model. It must be financially rewarding. Hence innovation is not just about net present value, but strategic goals.
For a company to increase its innovation, it must commit on every level. This means giving employees training and tools for innovation, as well as managerial commitment. Putting strategic innovation into the business model is rewarding, but takes up a lot of resources. Critical thinking and learning skills will be the main building blocks for successful innovation in the future.
The full interview can be found by clicking here.