This skepticism was not driven by satisfaction with their current innovation processes and culture . On the contrary, this seemed to be seriously flawed creating lots of frustration within their organization.
So you should think they would be open to changes in their approach. They were not and I think their main reason for being skeptical came as they understood that open innovation requires a lot of hard work while also bringing the uncertainty that usually follows changes.
Even more importantly, they could see this will not happen if they do not have full support from their executives to go open. They do not have this. The executives did talk about going open, but they had not yet managed to truly embrace this new paradigm shift.
No wonder innovation-driven employees in a company with a flawed process and culture and no clear leadership on how to deal with this become frustrated.
So they rightfully asked the question why should they embrace open innovation. I used the traditional arguments that if done right open innovation provides access to larger pool of resources, faster speed to market and higher innovation productivity. It took a while but the participants eventually bought fully into the idea that you need to go open in order to win the innovation game.
It helped that the other companies at the workshop did not have this skepticism. On they contrary, they fully believed in the concept although they – as any other company – had their struggles getting this right.
This made me think that open innovation – with all the change and uncertainty it brings – can be extremely frustrating to innovation leaders and other employees. Especially if they are led by executives who are not fully capable of leading in tough times.
How can companies as well as individual deal with this frustration? I will think further about this and it would be great hearing your input…