Of course, getting ideas from outside the organization is not a key to success in and of itself. Open innovation requires it to seek out partnerships with providers of the technologies that may be applied to its product development challenges. That takes time and manpower, and the likelihood of hit-or-miss results.
For companies that get good at it — that learn how to engage a diverse range of outside players in a targeted way — the payoffs can be considerable. In Unilever’s case, fully 60 percent of the projects in its innovation pipeline came through its open innovation process.
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