Never forget your most valuable innovation asset

When targeting participants for your open innovation programme, consider suppliers, customers and universities. But don’t forget your most valuable asset: your employees are themselves a community of stakeholders, often from different countries, cultures, backgrounds and businesses. They are your most important open innovation source.

In this sense, after laying out goals, challenges and workflow designs to engage your external contributors using a software platform, your innovation initiative provider should also help you to integrate the generated content with your internal community. This means you invite your people to screen and evaluate the best contributions given by those external participants, adopting the software platform for their own purposes.

They will help you deal with and efficiently assess expected high volumes of information – and to decide which contributions a final jury should analyse to find the competition’s winner. By doing this, you gather and leverage your organisation’s collective intelligence, aligning it with initiative’s goals.

True, your teams may have their own orthodoxies. But remember they can identify, better than anyone else can, both ‘false positives’ (ideas that seem auspicious but wouldn´t work in your organisation) and ‘false negatives’ (ideas seemingly outside your scope but carrying unexpected value).

This approach also makes sure that you don’t get stuck in bureaucratic monsters, when having to analyse all inputs received. It lets you focus on the process’s later stages, promoting transparency, winning sponsorship and accelerating decision-making and implementation within your organisation.

All in all, while embarking upon your open innovation quest, be sure to capture equally high external and internal levels of engagement. The entire initiative and evaluation process, in particular, must be efficient, and the balance between your external and internal collective intelligence is key to get it successfully done.

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s co-founder/ pdc@exago.com

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Six must-haves in the quest for open innovation success

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Open innovation and the fight for your audience

The 2nd key success factor of innovation management

When developing your innovation initiatives, you too often run the risk of getting trapped inside processes rather than creating value. Technicalities and bureaucracies enslave you, absorbing your energies and leaving little time to make things happen. We’ve seen than your people’s engagement is critical, but so is process efficiency.

We’ve learned that the wisdom of your crowd is invaluable to make your efforts effective. In his book, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few, James Surowiecki explains that, ‘under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.’ This means that your organisation can find the answers to many of its current challenges by harnessing your people’s ideas and experience.

Your people need to trust the process and get constant feedback. The procedures have to be clear, from idea generation through to content validation and idea evaluation, selection, crowdsourcing, implementation and acceleration – based on task bidding to identify the most appropriate resources. Only then can you have true peer collaboration. Exago makes sure this runs smoothly.

Different evaluation mechanisms, such as voting, multidimensional rating and prediction markets allow for a more proficient process, as well. We have adopted a sophisticated model of prediction markets that generates, screens and selects ideas. Processing high volumes of information, these prediction markets are the most efficient and transparent way to select the best contributions out of the vast array submitted by participants in idea management platforms.

The US Patent Office has officially patented our ‘System and method for adjusting asset value and availability in data records, for mitigating speculative trading in a prediction market’. This model encourages relevant participation and promotes the best process output in idea management initiatives.

But there’s a third key success factor of innovation management. We’ll see that next.

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The ultimate innovation management success factor

FROM THE START:
Can you master the 3 key success factors of innovation management?

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder
pcc@exago.com

The idea management challenge. How do they do it?

The Brazilian company Fleury – a leading provider of clinical analyses in Latin America – has currently more than 10,000 employees. All can participate in Fleury’s innovation efforts. In 2007, the company initiated a programme to encourage suggestions for how to improve its operations, allowing all employees to submit ideas on paper, which were then evaluated by an innovation committee. A software platform helped, in general, to collect ideas, supporting the programme.

But, the significant amount of work involved in evaluating these ideas led Fleury to consider an alternative. To optimise the process, in 2011, the Fleury group next adopted the Central de Ideias (Idea Market). Created by Exago, this innovation management solution is a software platform where all stakeholders can make their contributions – not only collecting and harnessing everyone’s ideas but also evaluating them.

Within a single year, the results overtook even the most ambitious targets:

  • Ideas submitted – escalating from 1,809, in 2011, to 7,269, in 2012, when the new model was implemented (an increase of more than 400%)
  • Ideas approved – more than doubling, from 443 to 946
  • Ideas implemented – increasing from 225 to 300
  • Stakeholders involved – growing from 712 to 3,309 people (and 15 months after implementing and disseminating Exago’s model, more than 70% of Fleury’s staff had actively joined in).

Fleury’s innovations have generated millions of reais in value. They’ve reduced operating costs and introduced more efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly processes. So far this year, almost 8,000 participants are still interconnected and actively participating, and 600 ideas have come to life. People have become the centre of Fleury’s culture of innovation.

In this way, the company has managed to tackle the three central challenges identified above: to create high levels of mobilisation and engagement, to be extremely efficient in the process of idea evaluation and to sustain high levels of participation over time (i.e. avoiding creating an initial peak followed by a drastic fall in participation).

At Exago, we’ve worked with extraordinary clients, such as Fleury, and others from pharmaceutical, banking, utilities and telecommunications industries – across four continents – to help them mobilise targeted communities to solve key business problems by learning from them and with them. What do we then believe to be the 3 key success factors of innovation management? We’ll see that next.

READ MORE:
The first of 3 key success factors of innovation management

FROM THE START:
Can you master the 3 key success factors of innovation management?

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder
pcc@exago.com

ELIS launches open innovation challenge for social and individual development

Associazione Centro ELIS, a non-profit organisation focused on preparing both young and adults for the labour market, is calling on its main stakeholders and Italian universities students to get involved in social and individual development efforts. ELIS, in association with ENEL group, wants to gather fresh insights into how to promote smarter cities, homes and manufacturing, as well as digital education and employee engagement – by using Exago’s gamified open innovation software.

Students and stakeholders are invited to submit, comment, evaluate and select the ideas they believe can meet the challenge. With a sophisticated but simple user interface, Exago’s platform allows ELIS to access external innovation sources easily and to welcome and recognise different types of participation, while rewarding all valuable contributions.

Elis hopes to ‘mobilise more easily different expertise and points of view to meet our goals of promoting vocational training and social development. We also want to find new ways to bring people, schools, universities and enterprises together, in Italy and in the developing countries were we are working”.

Founded in Rome in 1962, Associazione Centro ELIS operates with the belief that education and training are fundamental and privileged tools to promote the individual, and represent the basic and permanent values necessary to achieve social and economic values such as labour, solidarity and development. ELIS is thus committed to guaranteeing the constant adaptation of its programmes to the evolution and needs of the labour market.

Sitting on untapped potential – Exago’s director in ‘Switched on Leadership’

‘If you want to improve a process, enhance customer experience or create and perfect a product or service, the solution likely lies within your organisation.’ So, ‘Instead of using substitute brains, why not harness this collective intelligence to solve business problems?’ asks Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director, in the latest edition of Switched on Leadership.

Check out the full article, ‘Sitting on Untapped Potential: The Power of Your Organisation’s Collective Intelligence’, and get a free three-month subscription to the magazine here.

Founded by Christele Canard, Switched on Leadership embraces the mission of helping ‘leaders and teams step up to a new level of thinking, knowing and performing’. The magazine recently made it to the finals of the first edition of the Australian Trust Awards 2015 – a celebration of the most trusted and respected businesses in the country.