Here are three reasons why communication is a key element if you want to succeed with open innovation.
• “We are in the matchmaking business.” This quote came from Chris Thoen, P&G during his presentation at the recent CoDev conference. Chris also stated that one of the key objectives of open innovation is to become the preferred partner of choice. As with any kind of matchmaking, we strive to find the best possible partner and in order to do so we must be able to articulate our propositions in an attractive manner. This is very much about communication.
• Open innovation needs to become top of mind within organizations; not just within innovation teams. By now, many innovation teams understand the value of open innovation and those that do not will soon learn the hard way.
It is a tougher challenge making the rest of the company fully understand and buy into the value in open innovation. Nevertheless, this has to happen in order for them to change mindset and behaviours and thus be able to fully support open innovation and benefit from this. This is very much about communication.
• Find and be found. I advise companies to communicate more and better. Let the eco-system in your region – as well as globally – know what you are doing. Tell about your open innovation initiatives, share your learnings and ask for input.
Messages with substance move very fast within such eco-systems. This can help companies to be perceived as a preferred partner of choice or at least as a company with a potential for this to happen. You need to find the right partners, but it would be great if they also came to you, right? This is very much about communication.
What can innovation teams do to communicate better?
• Work with the communication team to develop clear messages. I do not know of many innovation teams that work closely with their communication department. These people know how to communicate and they should be able to almost any kind of message including those from an innovation team. Get them involved!
• Develop elevator pitches and train your people on how to deliver them. Some companies develop elevator pitches – very short pitches aimed at getting to the next level of customer contact – for their products and services. Why not do the same for the messages and propositions used towards potential partners as well as the colleagues you need to turn into backers of your open innovation initiatives? Check this link for further inspiration: Elevator Speech
• Develop a common language on innovation that everyone understands – internally as well externally for your partners and those that could be. This starts by developing a corporate definition of innovation that everyone should learn and you expand by developing innovation tools and processes that can be adapted by the entire organization – and external partners as well.
Can you add other reasons why communication matter and/or suggest other ways on how innovation teams can communicate better?