Open and digital innovation without boundaries

Open innovation, cross-boundary collaboration and digital collaboration are three innovation tools that have much in common. Our experiences are that one can reach the greatest success by combining them. This combination gives more people the opportunity to contribute and participate in the innovation process so that fruitful and unexpected meetings can arise among people who didn’t know they could benefit from each other.

Although creating boundless, open and digital innovation is not the easiest, our best tip is to expect the unexpected. You will never get the answers you expected but instead the answer you receive could be better than what you ever could have hoped for.

All of this sounds good, right? But how do you get going? Where do you start?

Get started!

In closing, we want to offer a workshop methodology that we have developed to run an open innovation process through cross-boundary collaboration and digital collaboration. Try it yourself, too!

  1. Formulate an interesting challenge

Be clear and specify what you are looking for and why. Be sure that the challenge is the type suited for an open innovation process and lies within an interesting intersection.

  1. Invite participants to a workshop

Choose participants with different backgrounds and competencies. Depending on your challenge, they can be colleagues from other departments in your workplace, actors from different parts of the value chain, competitors, customers, consumers, researchers and more.

  1. Create engagement

Open innovation is about engaging others and often you must remind participants about the benefits of participating! What is it that makes it interesting for them to be engaged? To find the right incentive or motive, it is important to think about what you are asking for, why you are doing it and whom you are asking.

  1. Brainstorm individually

Let participants first think independently about solutions for your challenge. Be clear that you do not expect complete innovation ideas but mostly want to start the process.

  1.    Refine each other’s ideas

Start a positive dialogue around participants’ ideas with the goal to jointly improve them. Let participants build on each other’s ideas. Maybe certain ideas can be fused to be even better?

  1. Select the idea with the most potential

Together with the participants, select the idea or ideas that have the most potential. Are there any up-and-comers or emerging possibilities in the form of a crazy and ”impossible” idea?

  1. Digitize the ideas

Transfer all the ideas to a digital platform that all participants have continued access to. Challenge them to continue the discussion and development of the ideas there. Usually after a closed meeting, one has time for thoughts and the best ideas emerge. Additionally, unexpected discussions and collaborations can arise.

  1. Feedback

Be clear in your feedback to participants about how their input has helped you and what your next step will be. It is important that participants feel included in the process.

  1. Make use of the newly formed network

During and as a result of this process, a new network has been formed. Is there a need to meet again to continue your discussions? Is there someone else in the network who wants to invite participants to a follow-up workshop? Or can you now continue sharing challenges with each other in your digital collaboration?

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