Innovation Leaders: Don’t Loose Your Appetite for Risk and Experimentation


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In an earlier post, I argued that P&G had lost their position as an open innovation leader with their Connect + Develop initiative.

Yes, I was pretty tough on them, but only as I believe a leader such as P&G should be held to a higher standard. I simply expect more from them and I am just a bit disappointed that they have not yet taken their otherwise great efforts to the next level. This could involve more focus on communities or perhaps a whole new approach to innovation that none of us have yet considered.

I would very much like to see P&G and other innovation leaders continue to push forward, but we sometimes see that such leaders loose their appetite for risk and experimentation, which is is the only thing that will lead to further progress in these times of fast change in business and innovation.

They are probably too afraid to risk what they have already won and thus they begin to fear the loyal companion of experimentation – which is the potential of failure – more than they will go for the potential benefits that comes with pushing forward and experimenting.

Nevertheless, I speak with the C+D team at P&G frequently and I am sure that it will continue to deliver strong results and I am also fairly confident that they will live up to my high expectations.

Furthermore, I also think that the early work of C+D will make the overall innovation efforts at P&G even stronger. The C+D program had – and probably still has – a great impact on the overall innovation culture at P&G as it continues to make it more acceptable – or perhaps even the norm – to work with external partners. They are far ahead here compared to many of their competitors and even more so with regards to other industries.

We also need to have in mind that open innovation is just an element of corporate innovation efforts. Here I like what P&G are doing with their new initiative, Corporate Platforms, which also seems to include a strong focus on business model innovation.

I believe the mix of open innovation and business model innovation is a powerful combination and companies that get this right have the chance to become competitively unpredictable through innovation. In general, companies really need to mix and match different kinds of innovation concepts, methodologies and approaches that fit their situation and needs. Check this post for more inspiration: 9 Innovation Concepts and Methodologies to Embrace, Consider or Re-think

As an endnote, I would like to warn all innovation leaders: Don’t loose your appetite for risk and experimentation. This is what made you an innovation leader to begin with.

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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