If You Can’t Invoice It, It Does Not Really Count

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This statement caught my interest when I went through the program for the Open Innovation Summit taking place in Chicago this week. Unfortunately, I cannot attend this year, but I hope the speakers and participants will have a great learning and sharing session.

If I had been there, I would very much like to have challenged Arun Prabhu, Commercial Innovation Director for the European diary giant, Arla on the statement that if you can’t invoice it, it doesn’t really count.

This is part of the introduction text to his talk on open innovation. I have interacted with Arun before and he is a good guy so I think we could find each other on this issue, but the statement is still worth digging into as I think it can be border-line dangerous.

Yes, it would be great if your open innovation efforts ended up directly on the revenue sheets, but you should not focus entirely on this. Open innovation is very much about a mindset that you need to develop within your organization. Open innovation can also to a high degree be viewed as organizational innovation as you need to involve so many business functions in order to get the full potential out of it. Many of these efforts will bring great value to the company even though they cannot be invoiced directly to customers.

So if you as one of the drivers for open innovation start spreading the word, that if you can’t invoice it, it does not really count, you have turned off a large portion of the potential contributors within your company and perhaps even on the outside as well. Do this and you will be at serious risk of halting one of the key desired effects of open innovation initiatives, which is to change the internal innovation culture.

Communication is becoming increasingly important when it comes to corporate innovation efforts – open or closed. This is a nice little example of what not to do.

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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