Open Innovation: A Work in Progress

Product Develoment Essentials BookAn overview of Chris’ chapter in the newly published Product Development Essentials book.

The APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center) asked Innovation Focus to help build a benchmarking study around Ideation within Open Innovation in 2013. Scores of companies were looked at and a few were selected with what the core team felt were “best” practices. Using a highly qualitative and anecdotal research method, the APQC, guided by Chris Miller, was able to identify some common characteristics of successful practices. These are documented in Chapter 12 in the recent Product Development Essentials book from the PDMA and published by Wiley in 2014.

Ideation within an Open Innovation (OI) environment has an evolving definition. Some companies do OI naturally as a part of their collaborative process within a value chain. This means they have strong, positive, goal-directed relationships with their customers and vendors. This is most common in the B2B environment.  Others have structured and repeatable processes. But most often these processes are a set of key principles applied with flexibility. Here is a sample of OI Enablers:

  • Seek hands-on support from, and exposure to, senior leadership.
  • Recognize internal and external contributors for their ideas.
  • Match portfolio management to the innovation and organizational strategy.
  • Focus on OI  process and players first, and then select the front end tools to be used.
  • Capture lessons learned, and continuously improve the OI process.

If you are familiar with PDMA CPAS research you will see substantial overlap. However, it is well worth the time to see the basic innovation and idea creation principles through different non-product development eyes. If you would like a copy of the chapter send me a note,, perhaps it will whet your appetite to buy the book.

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