Top 10 Reasons for Open Innovation Failure

A recent 15inno Twitter Chat made me ponder on the worst and most common mistakes that companies do on open innovation. Here comes a list of my thoughts – still work in progress.

1. Companies do not identify proper business reasons for engaging with open innovation.

2. Companies copy competitor’s initiatives rather than creating their own unique initiatives that match their business reasons for doing open innovation.

3. Companies fail to make their employees, partners and customers understand what open innovation means to the company and they fail to explain the impact of such a new direction to the internal and external stakeholders.

4. The various organizational units – and in particular the operational ones – are not fully aligned with the innovation initiatives making it difficult to execute in full on otherwise well-devised initiatives.

5. Executives fail to understand that how they handle risk and fear of losing control-issues are key to successful open innovation and thus they don’t deal with them head-on.

6. Companies put their “best guys” in charge of open innovation failing to recognize that the “best guys” who do great by doing things as usual are not necessarily what is needed in order to succeed with open innovation. It is a paradigm shift and you often need different perspectives to succeed.

7. Companies often have problems making internal innovation work and they see open innovation as a quick fix with long-term effect. Wrong. You will not succeed with open innovation if you cannot make innovation work internally.

8. Companies focus more on their own gains rather than working towards creating a true win-win scenario.

Hey, that’s only 8… That’s right. I hope you can help identify more reasons for open innovation failure. What can you add?

By Stefan Lindegaard

About Stefan Lindegaard

Stefan LindegaardStefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation. He facilitates peer-to-peer network groups for corporate innovation directors and managers and he is the founder and facilitator of the 15inno by Stefan Lindegaard group on LinkedIn, which counts more than 1100 global corporate innovation leaders and many others interested in innovation. Stefan Lindegaard believes open innovation requires a global perspective and he has given talks and worked with companies on open innovation in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. His blog is a globally recognized destination on open innovation. You can read further at
  • Ben

    Companies lack a structured framework for analyzing opportunities for open innovation. Frequently they have not even taken the time to break out and understand the critical elements of their existing business model (see Osterwalder’s 9 Elements), let alone how a new product or service might (or might not) fit into it. This kind of self-knowledge is a critical prerequisite that must still be complimented with an understanding of the market landscape and how/where the company intends to compete in that landscape.

  • Jacqui

    Companies fail to have an effective evaluation process for those ideas. Having the ideas is one thing, doing something useful with them is quite another!

  • Mohammad Mahiuddin

    why innovation failled in a business enterprise?