Importance of Open Innovation and tips for managing one

In the past, innovation was something that occurred within the business; however, these days, companies are taking a new approach. Through open innovation, organizations don’t rely on their own people for ideas. Instead, open innovation allows for organizations to partner up to create new ideas for their business. 

What is Open Innovation?

Open innovation is where parties collaborate with other parties outside of their organization to achieve specific goals. These two parties share their intellectual properties in a mutually beneficial way. As both parties learn more information from the other, they can make more informed decisions to solve their company’s problems. 

That is a far different approach than what is usually taken. Typically, businesses like to hide behind secrecy, trying to find innovations within their company. The benefit of open innovation is that you are opening up the problem-solving challenges to a broader audience. That increases the chances that you can create the best solutions for your organization.

The concept of open innovation comes from Henry Chesbrough, who coined the term in the early 2000s. Chesbrough says, “open innovation is a more distributed, more participatory, and more decentralized approach to innovation.

What is an Open Innovation Challenge?

An innovation challenge is an excellent approach to generating ideas. Whether they are from your organization or not, participants are asked to create new ideas to improve their products or services. By creating a competition or challenge, you are increasing the engagement of participants. This approach is also great for enhancing the quality of the ideas that you get. 

Innovative challenges are great because:

  • You can improve the products and services that you offer.
  • You can improve the processes and customer service at your organization.
  • You can optimize the workplace environment by creating a culture of innovation.
  • You never know where great ideas are going to come from.

Tips for managing an Open Innovation Challenge

How do you create an open innovation challenge? Here are steps to create yours:

  1. Define goals: You need to be clear about what strategic goals you have and the objectives you want to meet. 
  2. Choose participants: Decide who will be participating in this challenge, whether it be customers or other organizations.
  3. Set the success factors: Clearly discuss what the success factors are for your challenges.
  4. Choose your platform: Decide how you are running the challenge and what platform you are using.
  5. Write your challenge: Get a template so that you know how to write a great challenge brief.

Understanding how to create an open innovation challenge is different from being able to manage one successfully. These are tips for managing a successful innovation challenge:

Have a clear understanding of its purpose – You must know the end goal of the challenge and have an expert understanding of what you are trying to solve. Without knowing these things, your challenge won’t be successful. Open challenges still need to have the same focus as any other innovation challenge. If you call for ideas without any focus, you won’t have the necessary credibility to be successful.

Stakeholder buy-in – Your challenge needs to be valuable to be successful. It would help if you had the support of people across your company and any organization you are working with. Having this support shows others just how valuable your organization finds this challenge. 

Choosing a digital venue – Open innovation challenges mean that you are opening up your innovation challenge to a diverse group of people. A decentralized location like a digital venue is the perfect place for collaboration, idea processing, and submissions for the challenge. Digital platforms allow participants to quickly lookup everything they need to know about the challenge. This also allows them to easily submit their ideas while getting a convenient location to see all of the submissions. 

Use an effective marketing strategy – The goal of these types of challenges is to get the brightest and most creative participants. That means that you need to market your challenge to participants. Create an information packet about the challenge and what problems you are trying to solve. Go out and recruit some of the brightest minds that you can access. Marketing your challenge effectively will ensure that you are getting the best people for your challenge.

Involve the legal team – As previously mentioned, the goal here is to get people from outside your organization to solve a problem. Participants need to have all the details if they are going to help the challenge effectively. The legal team can offer you a way to give enough information without compromising your intellectual property.


Innovative challenges can be an excellent tool for your business. Some of the best ideas may not even come from within your company. With open innovation challenges, you can get the creative insights and solutions you need for improving your business.

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Vincent Wee
Vincent Wee
Singapore | Vincent is a dynamic and versatile marketing strategist primarily focused on digital marketing. He has spent more than two decades playing games, venturing across multiple consoles and game genres. He currently enjoys PUBG and DOTA 2.

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