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How Leading Organizations Manage Their Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing Efforts – Part Two

How Leading Organizations Manage Their Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing Efforts - Part OneIf you missed How Leading Organizations Manage Their Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing Efforts – Part One, you can find it here.

So what do leading organizations do to encourage the successful use of external talent?

They build a solid foundation:

  1. Seek to understand where the challenges will lie in the transformation
  2. Have passionate business owners
  3. Secure top level support
  4. Make a long term commitment to the use of external talent
  5. Negotiate master agreements with external talent providers at the center
  6. Create a common language of innovation and external talent
  7. Implement the processes and systems to manage and measure innovation efforts

They get strategic:

  1. Create an external talent strategy
  2. Make a plan for achieving the strategy
  3. Attach goals to the strategy (e.g., P&G’s 50% goal)
  4. Communicate the goals of the strategy and measure goal achievement

They focus on communications and ownership:

  1. Do not underestimate the importance of communications, education, and dialogue
  2. Create guidelines for when and how to use different external talent sources
  3. Have someone own and manage the external innovation efforts
  4. Have owners and champions in place in different business units or product groups
  5. Educate employees on how to engage owners and champions

They continuously reinforce their efforts:

  1. Recognize and reward those who go outside
  2. Weave external focus into internal systems (e.g., innovation system prompts)
  3. Get cross-functional input into problem definition and challenge formation
  4. Make resources available for integration
  5. Work to make the organization more flexible and adaptable

In addition, successful organizations understand that it is about making and maintaining connections and community – you build it for when you need it, instead of building it when you need it. Successful organizations understand that attracting and managing external talent is as important as finding and hiring the best internal talent, and are changing their budget allocations to fit this new paradigm. The role of HR in the near future will not be just to recruit, develop, and manage staff, but also to build and curate talent pools. The HR profession will have to build new core competences in network orchestration and managing talent – no matter where the talent lives (inside or outside the organization). It is time to start preparing.

Build a Common Language of Innovation

Before moving on to the final section, let us look at a few brief examples of different companies engaging external talent for business success and one case study of a leader pushing farther:

  • Threadless decided to base their whole business on external talent and build a community of designers and customers that they could leverage to come up with the t-shirt designs that they sell.
  • Quirky has taken the Threadless model of utilizing external talent to simultaneously make invention accessible and build a consumer products company. You submit your idea, the community curates it, the company evaluates it, and actually produces and sells the chosen inventions online, and even at a handful of retailers.
  • P&G went outside with a plastic technology and created a joint venture with competitor Clorox that focuses on trash bags, food storage, and related areas.
  • Intuit uses its Collaboratory web site to connect with entrepreneurs and to publicize their open innovation challenges, and their Labs web site to engage with the developer and customer communities to get immediate feedback on some of their experiments in order to engage in some level of co-creation.
  • Psion Teklogix has built one of the more robust corporate open innovation communities – Ingenuity Working – complete with a video from their CEO front and center.
  • SAP has started The Global SAP Co-Innovation Lab Network (aka COIL) with HP, Intel, NetApp, Cisco, VMware, and F5 Networks to facilitate project-based co-innovation with its members and to enhance the capabilities of SAP’s partner and customer ecosystem through an integrated network of world-wide expertise and best-in-class technologies and platforms.
  • MyStarbucksIdea.com is an example of engaging the creative energy outside your organization that most companies will not want to follow. They throw things wide open for all idea submissions, not focused on any particular challenges, for all to see. As a result, Starbucks exposes the company to the risk of brand equity destruction from not following through on suggestions. At the same time, this approach provides free market research for competitors and creates a lot of sifting and communications work for internal resources.

If you missed How Leading Organizations Manage Their Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing Efforts – Part One, you can find it here.

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