What are the problems and challenges faced by the Indian Innovators and what can be done so that more companies and individual innovators participate in the Open innovation models?
So why in spite of having so much talent in India, we don’t get much innovative ideas. Yes, the talent exists but there has been a dearth of Innovations from the youth, and many of these begin their innovative activities later after graduation. Also there are common men who innovate but are not visible.
They basically lack funds and other assistance which would enable them to be visible and carry their innovations to the market and for people who belonged to R&D centre the funding is provided to some extent by the government but mostly in the research area and from which the common man had no luxury. I believe India’s policies and education system supports a traditional linear process of innovation. Out of the Box, the thinking seems to be non-existent and even discouraged in Indian education system, be it engineering, medicine or any graduation course.
People believe that more education will automatically lead to the development of new products and commercialization of those products. Also, during my experience at work, I have found my colleagues hesitant to share details about their ideas as they feared that someone might grab undue credit for his/her ideas. It may be because of the lack of trust in their subordinates, as well people up the hierarchy. If only we can collaborate this and provide incentives for fresh ideas we can help reduce that insecurity level among the employees in the organization.
One study revealed that 91% of managers believe that Open Innovation is critical to meet long-term objectives of their organization. The study also forecasted that relative spending on collaboration networks would increase 50% by 2025. From luxury brands to airlines, heavy engineering firms to global consumer electronics companies, businesses across industries are looking to leverage Open Innovation.
1. Create a multi-layered network
Do not work with a single point of contact in the client organization. Instead, create a large, dense network of contacts with people at all levels. This increases the chances of being aware of implementation challenges that are being faced at different levels. “A large, dense network helps reduce silo thinking, increasing the odds of creating a more holistic and robust design concept,” the authors explain.
2. Foster equal ownership
It is important for all the stakeholders involved to feel equal ownership and responsibility for the idea to build flexibility into the implementation process. Here is how successful designers do it:
- Articulate stakeholders’ value: Acknowledge the smallest contributions that a stakeholder has made to the creation and implementation of the idea. This is to make them feel valued. Also, highlight the benefits that a stakeholder will accrue by participating in the implementation.
- Keep communication open: Facilitate open discussions about ideas, involving every stakeholder. This gives them a sense of ownership of the idea. Use the tools at disposal (like Slack, Yammer, or other collaboration tools) to keep everyone involved.
3. Establish interim milestones
Do staging of the innovation process. Break down the goal into tangible milestones, “adding steps through the process”. What this does is – it makes the project seem less intimidating as it would have initially. At the same time, this ensures a certain level of transparency as everyone is aware of what milestones have been crossed in the product journey. These milestones help one build support for the project. Since the problem has been broken down into various stages, people can understand easily how they can contribute to which stage. Taking the agile approach, one can reshape the development of the idea at every milestone.
4. Build an open business case
Articulate a business case which is more open and develops it as you move through the various stages. This gives you the flexibility to adapt and be agile on the go. The stakeholders in the process can then add more input to the business case. In case of partnerships for open innovation, room for flexibility in the business case can allow the participating organizations to adapt to each other’s business objectives and strategies as they learn more about their partners. A rigid business case made without an in-depth understanding of the partner’s strategic goals causes inertia.
5. Prototype early
Present a minimal viable product which is in early stages of development. A prototype can tell whether it is on track to fulfill the expectations of each partner involved. If it is, then continue with the product’s development. If it isn’t, then make alterations keeping the strategic objectives of each partner in mind, and change the product. “Seeing something concrete also helps people more easily articulate their concerns and give more constructive feedback while an idea is still at a fluid stage,” opine the authors.
These strategies are from the handbook of an agile methodology that is dominantly used in the technology industry. Application from the principles used by design teams can yield better partnerships. The important thing to remember is that the end in mind of the idea implementation process is to create consensus, and not drive efficiency.