The Biggest Open Innovation Success Factor – Revealed

The biggest single success factor in any open innovation initiative, according to Michael Fruhling, is when a corporation has a specific, time-sensitive need that it must meet.

I regularly act as a technology scout for large corporate clients. In this role, I have found the following to be pretty consistently true:

The prospects for success for a deal with an external technology provider are highest when the solution it offers is actively being sought by the customer and its implementation is time-sensitive. In other words, motivated customers tend to shop with a sense of urgency. In these instances, solutions need to be high quality, available and feasible in order to enable the project’s timely commercialization.

I contrast “active seeking” with other types of seeking activity. Importantly, what a company may describe or post as a want or a need does not necessarily (and often doesn’t) mean that there is a time sensitive project attached to it, or even that there is an internal customer for it.  Those types of needs are often scouted differently, using a more select set of resources (including select “inner circle” suppliers).

I find that when I help a client to actively scout for a solution on what one  would describe as a “hot” project, the solution is implemented more often than when there is an ongoing need being scouted on a “discovery” basis.

This fact can often make it highly challenging and highly frustrating for someone making unsolicited technology submissions to large corporations. Even in those instances when their submission targets an authorized need, they typically don’t have the benefit of knowing how pressing the need is, what competition exists for it, or even whether there is an internal customer for it. Not surprisingly, success probabilities in these instances are far lower than for sanctioned programs.

These insights only reflect my observations and experiences. I’d be interested to learn of yours. Care to share?

By Chuck Frey

About the author

Chuck Frey Senior Editor, founded and served as its publisher from its launch in 2002 until the partnership with Innovation Management in 2012. He is the publisher of The Mind Mapping Software Blog, the definitive souce for news, trends, tips and best practices for visual mapping tools. A journalist by trade, Chuck has over 14 years of experience in online marketing, and over 10 years experience in business-to-business public relations. His interests include creative problem solving, visual thinking, photography, business strategy and technology. His unique combination of experience and influences enables him to envision new possibilities and opportunities.