7 Reasons Big Companies Can’t Build Strong Relationships for Innovation


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What are the common mistakes or missteps that organizations should avoid as they try to build trust within their innovation networks and communities? It would be great to have a discussion on this so I look forward to your input based on my discussion starter below.

Mindset: We are bigger and better than you. Unfortunately, some companies still have this attitude even when they look into external collaboration opportunities. It does not help so drop it and find each other on equal terms.

Networking culture: Some companies do not understand that a strong innovation culture requires a strong networking culture. There is no networking strategy, no process, no training of the employees and most importantly, the employees are not given the time to develop relationships.

Resources: This ties into the above issue on infrastructure. It takes an investment – especially with regards to allocating the proper time – in order to build strong relationship building capabilities.

Outreach: Since you have initiated some open innovation efforts, you most likely understand that you can’t do everything by yourself. This should also apply to building your internal process. You might not need to engage external service providers such as NineSigma or InnoCentive, but you need to know who they are and how they could help you expand your network.

Communication: This builds on my first point. Do you speak the same “language” as those you are trying to build a relationship with? We often forget that we see things differently leading us to have different views and even a different vocabulary on many things.

The next two were added in a discussion with Kevin McFarthing:

Process – or lack thereof: All too often legal agreements seem intended to prevent any interaction rather than facilitate it. You can see this in some portals where submitters are expected to agree to statements several pages long, rather than being kept simple. Companies need to have straightforward, sensible and welcoming approaches to process.

People treatment: Companies that do well with open innovation also understand the valaue of good personal relationships, treating people as people and not as potential assets. This can be the glue to hold projects together, as well as to facilitate good communication and project output. The more you think about the people aspect, the more likely you are to have engaging communication and to have a successful networking strategy.

What can you add?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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