In today’s fast-moving landscape, disseminating innovation within the corporation is key to capturing opportunities and turning them into business value. That’s how you will truly manage to make the best out of your external ecosystem.

In a previous article, focusing on Open Innovation, we identified the difference between Open Innovation and Closed Innovation. What it uncovered was that Open Innovation should be handled on two different levels: both externally and internally

However, if partnering with external partners in your ecosystem has a clear advantage, there is more controversy when it comes to internal decentralization of innovation. 

Yet, disseminating innovation within the corporation is key to capturing opportunities and turning them into business value. In contrast, restricting innovation to R&D and innovation teams will hinder the corporation’s innovation potential.

All collaborators should be implied in all Open Innovation approaches (even though with different levels of priority, importance, and implication): that’s how you will truly manage to make the best out of your external ecosystem.

Within a large corporation, there are thousands of employees in hundreds of teams, each one allocated to a department  (digital transformation, finance, marketing, operations, etc.) This results in numerous fields of expertise. Some employees are technical experts, dedicated to integrating IT solutions, and others are on the ground, and thus closer to the business’ need and market realities. 

Disseminating your innovation will enable your company to capitalize as much as possible on these different fields of expertise. Teams will have the possibility to express their business needs and raise market pain points. It will feed the company with relevant insights, making innovation more accurate.

In addition, calling on transversal teams (e.g. Finance, IT, Legal) will enable an expert judgment of the different solutions, making your final decision better.

In a nutshell, brainpower is disseminated throughout the organization. You should look for it all along your innovation process to increase your chances of success. As well as, to ensure that your innovation is truly creating value for the company.

Empowering People Will Accelerate Your Innovation and Will Drive Engagement

Conducting experiments should not be exclusive to the innovation team. In fact, its role should be to increase all teams’ independence when it comes to innovating. As well as, to communicate on innovation priorities at the corporate level and to provide a clear process so teams are empowered to innovate on their own. 

This decentralization will lead to faster experimentation and better chances of survival in a fast-moving landscape. This was listed as one of the 5 Benefits of Decentralized Innovation Management, according to Jagan Jami in his article for Acuvate.

Furthermore, empowering collaborators will also raise their responsibility while fostering internal initiatives. This will increase the engagement of employees, who will feel valued and engaged. It will result in more idea generation while improving chances of success: empowered teams have a better understanding of their own need.

Employee empowerment should become part of your corporate culture. For instance, Four Seasons was awarded Fortune’s 2017 “Great Place of Work Legend”. Ed Evans, its Executive Vice President and CHRO, reacted claiming that “by empowering employees […], they, in turn, carry our values forward, connecting deeply with our guests […]”.

Sharing Information Transversally Will Reduce the Risk of Missed Opportunities

Innovation decentralization must be accompanied by information centralization.

Last but not least, one major facet of Open Innovation is to make it participative and collaborative. Concretely, this means that all teams should share their knowledge with one another.

In order to avoid creating silos, innovation decentralization must be accompanied by information centralization. In other words, disseminating your innovation implies that information is spread between different teams. Therefore, cross-team communication will reduce the risk of missed opportunities and inadequate innovations.

Indeed, while some teams are facing innovation opportunities, other teams are facing market reality. If both teams communicate, it will reduce the risk of making the wrong decision.

Linking Open Innovation to the DNA of your Company Will Help Build an Innovation Culture

All things considered, achieving success by decentralizing your innovation strongly relies on people. They are your main strategic asset when it comes to creating value out of opportunities (expertise, empowerment, collaboration).

Therefore, it is all about diffusing the right mindset. Disseminating your innovation should go beyond principles and a checkbox approach. As explained by Henry Chesbrough in his webinar, every corporation willing to succeed should make it part of its DNA.