Unsuccessful Open Innovation

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There are lots of stories about successful open innovation initiatives, but we do not really hear much about those that fail. I see three key reasons for this:

1. Lack of willingness to share failures. Even though there is a growing understanding that we can learn more from our failures than our successes, it is just difficult finding good cases and stories on (open) innovation failure. I have tried this for a long time with my focus on smartfailing. Although this is understandable, I really hope that companies at least internally and perhaps even within their ecosystems share their failures.

2. Open innovation is a never-ending process. A company can fail on a particular project or a set-up, but they keep pushing their open innovation efforts. We have seen this over and over again and recently we even got the academic proof that open innovation has really taken hold among companies. Thus, we do not really see unsuccessful open innovation, but rather initiatives that are still work in progress making it too early to call it a failure even if there are difficulties.

3. Companies have not even started their open innovation journey. Can we call it unsuccessful open innovation if companies have not even begun with open innovation? Probably not, but it is definitely an executive failure and it is one that can really hurt the company in the long run.

I recently read a great article, Why Great Innovation Fail: It’s All in the Ecosystem, based on Ron Adler’s great book, The Wide Lens. Here we learn that a key reason that innovation fails is because the ecosystem is not fully developed or prepared to deliver on the potential.

The article and book mentions Michelin, Sony and Hollywood studios as cases with unsuccessful (open) innovation. I can also add Airbus and Boeing and their troubled efforts with open innovation in their supply chain when they built the A380 and the Dreamliner.

So there are some cases that are related to unsuccesful open innovation, but it would be great to hear even more. Let me know if you can share any!

P.S. You can also check out my recent webinar on “Embrace Failure to Build a Stronger Innovation Culture” together with InnoCentive.

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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