Open Innovation Teams: What Do They Look Like?

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One of my corporate contacts recently asked if I could share some insights on what corporate (open) innovation teams or groups look like and whether there are same similarities across industries. This prompted me to take a quick look and here I give you short descriptions of some groups with a public presence.

Shell Game Changer: GameChanger is a simple, flexible, and real-time innovation process run by an autonomous team at Shell that invests in helping people develop their novel ideas from genesis to proof of concept. Ideas can and do come from anyone, anywhere at any time – in or outside the company. Successful projects graduate to an R&D program, a commercial license, or a new venture. This is the introduction to a great read on Shell Game Changer – click the above link to read further.

P&G Connect + Develop: This is one of the best known corporate innovation teams and rightfully so as they pioneered open innovation. The C+D initiative is the key piece of P&G’s Global Business Development group with about 80 people making this the biggest open innovation team I know of.

Weyerhauser: Linda Beltz, Director for Technology Partnerships / Open Innovation at Weyerhaeuser has shared great insights on how to organize for open innovation in her many presentations and talks. I find that a key take away from her work is that you need a hybrid / balanced approach.

General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network (G-WIN): This team has won awards for their efforts and as you can read in this article, they constantly iterate their approach for facilitating innovation throughout the company. You should also check out this advice on starting an open innovation program.

LEGO: It sounds strange given LEGO’s many external touchpoints, but they only started their team a year ago. They are only two guys, but they are seeing strong progress within their targeted value pools of internal employees, entrepreneurs, kids and adult fans and companies / institutions.

AkzoNobel Networked Innovation Program: This is a more informal program based on about 15 people across the different business units and functions. Such a setup provides more flexibility and if they can combine this with direction and action, it can become quite powerful.

Natura: This Brazilian company started their open innovation efforts 5 years ago and they are starting to get their share of attention. You get an idea of their setup at the end of the article (above link). It seems as if they have a small team of 5-7 people led by Adriano Jorge. You can read about their focus areas in his LinkedIn profile.

With regards to similarities among these groups, I notice that with the exception of P&G Connect+Develop, the teams are fairly small having 2-15 people on board. Getting the right people on board – and in charge – is crucial as individuals really can make or break such initiatives. Most of the teams have also been in place for at least 3-5 years indicating that it takes time for such initiatives to take root internally as well as externally.

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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