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Management Challenges [ c o n t i n u e d ] MANAGING OPEN INNOVATION CASE IN POINT 3M has implemented a common openinnovation model across each of its 63 operating businesses in more than 70 countries. Each business conducts its own research while maintaining connections with all R&D operations throughout the company. In addition, 3M collaborates closely with customers through 30 customer technology centers around the world; here, its technical and marketing employees meet directly with customers, exposing them to the full range of 3M technology platforms. However, what really drives 3M’s success is its culture, which the company actively supports. “[This] creates a community of collaboration and ensures that everybody has some skin in the innovation game,” said Fred Palensky, 3M’s chief technology officer. “And because our senior leaders have grown up in this culture, they continue to nurture and protect this highly collaborative, enterprising environment.”34

Experts caution that companies should not view open innovation as a panacea for all innovation ills. Generating ideas is relatively easy, but it’s not enough. What com-

panies need are processes to find, capture, and commercialize those ideas. Creating

a culture where such processes are promoted and protected is particularly challenging.32

In order to prevent or overcome some of the challenges of managing open innovation in a global R&D network, the following approaches have been suggested:33

Ensure top-level support. In order to ensure the successful adoption of open

innovation across the organization, the support of a senior-level executive who

presides over an innovation office is critical. The office should have a mandate to seek ideas and opportunities and establish two kinds of teams: some responsible for managing relationships with external partners and others, chosen from dif-

ferent business units, charged with developing cross-functional open-innovation processes.

Address the “not-invented here” syndrome. Companies that make open in-

novation work create a culture that encourages true collaboration among business units and functions and has no tolerance for the “not-invented-here” syndrome. Employees in those companies understand the importance of focusing on what consumers need and at the same time embracing externally generated ideas.

Provide processes & tools. Discipline is an essential ingredient in the successful adoption of open innovation, and so is frequent communication. Moving away

from ad hoc processes to clearly defined open innovation practices, systems and roles is critical. New, consistent processes should be backed up with flexible IT

tools to track new ideas, select the best ones and manage the development stage.

Measure and reward. For firms to innovate effectively, they must be able to ef-

ficiently capture new ideas. Creating mutually beneficial partnerships is critical to

successfully developing ideas generated outside the organization. Internal budgets for divisions and functions should be tied in part to their innovation efforts, as

should individual incentives. For this to work, companies need a process for developing and tracking key innovation metrics. 32

Jaruzelski, B., Holman, R. 2011. “Casting a Wide Net:

Building the Capabilities for Open Innovation.” Ivey Business Journal. 75 (2): 43-46.







Profile for BattenInstitute


[From the Innovators' Roundtable Series] Corporate innovation does not take place only within the vacuum of a company’s R&D unit. New produc...


[From the Innovators' Roundtable Series] Corporate innovation does not take place only within the vacuum of a company’s R&D unit. New produc...