Red Flags, Warnings on Open Innovation


by Stefan Lindegaard

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Some companies have more difficulties implementing open innovation than others. Now, you might wonder if it is possible to tell which companies that have such difficulties and you might even wonder if your company falls into this category.When I work with companies or research on innovation, I look for what I call red flags; small signs that something is wrong with their innovation efforts. Recently, one suggested that Corning, the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics, should be included in my list of open innovation examples and resources so I visited the Corning website.

To my surprise, I picked up lots of red flags on Corning and their ability to become an open innovation company. By using Corning as an example, I hope to bring some attention to issues innovation leaders need to be aware when they want to implement open innovation.

The backlash of a long innovation heritage:

Start out by visiting the Corning website. You will definitely notice that this company is very proud of their long innovation heritage and with much reason. However, this is also were we run into the first problems. If you have too much focus on your heritage, then you will have difficulties changing for the future.This is what Corning says on the website: “We do everything possible to sustain our culture of innovation.” “R&D is the foundation on which Corning’s history has been built, and we have no doubt it will lead us to future technological triumphs.”

Having researched on Corning and spent quite some time on their website, I really doubt that they have what it takes to upgrade to a future of innovation that will be open and global. They dwell too much in the past.

By the way, they are sure their R&D foundation will lead them to future technological triumphs. I if was an employee, a shareholder or a partner, I would much rather like to see these efforts lead to market triumphs.

The above and other statements on the website suggest the kind of “not-invented-here” culture that has big difficulties adapting to a more outward-focused culture driven by a “re-applied with pride” attitude.

External collaboration needs to go beyond customers:

Corning prides themselves for being good at attending the needs of their customers. This is a good thing, but today you also need to be able to go further and thus beyond customers when it comes to external collaboration.On a case study with Volkswagen they write this: “Corning assembled its top experts in emissions control—scientists, engineers, and manufacturing leaders with deep and broad knowledge of clean-air technologies—to tackle the Volkswagen challenge.”

They listened to Volkwagen’s need and then they assembled their own top experts. Companies that really get open innovation would pull together not only their own experts but also the external experts whom they would have access to through different networks.

Corning even believes that they have a “unique collaborative culture”. I have a hard time finding evidence of a highly developed collaborative culture and what I believe they have is not even unique; many companies are just as closed as Corning. The big problem is that Corning seemingly fails to understand this is a problem in today’s business climate.

You should also check out the Corning Research FAQ. It is short with only two questions including this one: “Do Corning scientists and engineers collaborate with others outside of Corning to complete their research?”

The reply is that Corning’s technology community is encouraged to collaborate with external academic and research institutions, and you will see a range of authors in their Research Archive that reflect this collaborative approach.

It is just not good enough only to encourage such relationships. You need processes for this.

Put the internal resources to work:

I have no reason to doubt that Corning have many great minds that can make things happen. They even have a very strong intellectual property base that they treasure as their most valued asset.As you can read, I do not believe Corning gets the future of innovation, as they do not seem to be willing and/or capable to bridge their internal resources with external resources.

I simply have a hard time identifying open innovation-like initiatives and I find this to be strange as I wrote a blog post some time ago based on this BusinessWeek article; Corning’s Silicon Valley Connection.

The article describes how Corning hopes its tech center in Silicon Valley can suck up big ideas from the likes of HP and Google and turn them into new products.

I paid special notice to this statement. “A world leader in industrial research and development, Corning staunchly believes in change.” Perhaps Corning should also consider how they bring changes to their own internal management and innovation processes.

Corning even states that they do everything possible to sustain their culture of innovation. I predict that if what I pick up on this site holds true and if Corning does not change its course on innovation, the same virtues and values that build the company will bring it down. By the way, Corning can find similar lessons from many other companies that no longer exist.

Spend some time on Corning’s site. Can you see the red flags I mention? Now ask yourself if you have some of the same issues at your own company…

Some companies have more difficulties implementing open innovation than others. Now, you might wonder if it is possible to tell which companies that have such difficulties and you might even wonder if your company falls into this category.When I work with companies or research on innovation, I look for what I call red flags; small signs that something is wrong with their innovation efforts. Recently, one suggested that Corning, the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics, should be included in my list of open innovation examples and resources so I visited the Corning website.

To my surprise, I picked up lots of red flags on Corning and their ability to become an open innovation company. By using Corning as an example, I hope to bring some attention to issues innovation leaders need to be aware when they want to implement open innovation.

The backlash of a long innovation heritage:

Start out by visiting the Corning website. You will definitely notice that this company is very proud of their long innovation heritage and with much reason. However, this is also were we run into the first problems. If you have too much focus on your heritage, then you will have difficulties changing for the future.This is what Corning says on the website: “We do everything possible to sustain our culture of innovation.” “R&D is the foundation on which Corning’s history has been built, and we have no doubt it will lead us to future technological triumphs.”

Having researched on Corning and spent quite some time on their website, I really doubt that they have what it takes to upgrade to a future of innovation that will be open and global. They dwell too much in the past.

By the way, they are sure their R&D foundation will lead them to future technological triumphs. I if was an employee, a shareholder or a partner, I would much rather like to see these efforts lead to market triumphs.

The above and other statements on the website suggest the kind of “not-invented-here” culture that has big difficulties adapting to a more outward-focused culture driven by a “re-applied with pride” attitude.

External collaboration needs to go beyond customers:

Corning prides themselves for being good at attending the needs of their customers. This is a good thing, but today you also need to be able to go further and thus beyond customers when it comes to external collaboration.On a case study with Volkswagen they write this: “Corning assembled its top experts in emissions control—scientists, engineers, and manufacturing leaders with deep and broad knowledge of clean-air technologies—to tackle the Volkswagen challenge.”

They listened to Volkwagen’s need and then they assembled their own top experts. Companies that really get open innovation would pull together not only their own experts but also the external experts whom they would have access to through different networks.

Corning even believes that they have a “unique collaborative culture”. I have a hard time finding evidence of a highly developed collaborative culture and what I believe they have is not even unique; many companies are just as closed as Corning. The big problem is that Corning seemingly fails to understand this is a problem in today’s business climate.

You should also check out the Corning Research FAQ. It is short with only two questions including this one: “Do Corning scientists and engineers collaborate with others outside of Corning to complete their research?”

The reply is that Corning’s technology community is encouraged to collaborate with external academic and research institutions, and you will see a range of authors in their Research Archive that reflect this collaborative approach.

It is just not good enough only to encourage such relationships. You need processes for this.

Put the internal resources to work:

I have no reason to doubt that Corning have many great minds that can make things happen. They even have a very strong intellectual property base that they treasure as their most valued asset.As you can read, I do not believe Corning gets the future of innovation, as they do not seem to be willing and/or capable to bridge their internal resources with external resources.

I simply have a hard time identifying open innovation-like initiatives and I find this to be strange as I wrote a blog post some time ago based on this BusinessWeek article; Corning’s Silicon Valley Connection.

The article describes how Corning hopes its tech center in Silicon Valley can suck up big ideas from the likes of HP and Google and turn them into new products.

I paid special notice to this statement. “A world leader in industrial research and development, Corning staunchly believes in change.” Perhaps Corning should also consider how they bring changes to their own internal management and innovation processes.

Corning even states that they do everything possible to sustain their culture of innovation. I predict that if what I pick up on this site holds true and if Corning does not change its course on innovation, the same virtues and values that build the company will bring it down. By the way, Corning can find similar lessons from many other companies that no longer exist.

Spend some time on Corning’s site. Can you see the red flags I mention? Now ask yourself if you have some of the same issues at your own company…

Some companies have more difficulties implementing open innovation than others. Now, you might wonder if it is possible to tell which companies that have such difficulties and you might even wonder if your company falls into this category.

When I work with companies or research on innovation, I look for what I call red flags; small signs that something is wrong with their innovation efforts. Recently, one suggested that Corning, the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics, should be included in my list of open innovation examples and resources so I visited the Corning website.

To my surprise, I picked up lots of red flags on Corning and their ability to become an open innovation company. By using Corning as an example, I hope to bring some attention to issues innovation leaders need to be aware when they want to implement open innovation.

The backlash of a long innovation heritage:

Start out by visiting the Corning website. You will definitely notice that this company is very proud of their long innovation heritage and with much reason. However, this is also were we run into the first problems. If you have too much focus on your heritage, then you will have difficulties changing for the future.

This is what Corning says on the website: “We do everything possible to sustain our culture of innovation.” “R&D is the foundation on which Corning’s history has been built, and we have no doubt it will lead us to future technological triumphs.”

Having researched on Corning and spent quite some time on their website, I really doubt that they have what it takes to upgrade to a future of innovation that will be open and global. They dwell too much in the past.

By the way, they are sure their R&D foundation will lead them to future technological triumphs. I if was an employee, a shareholder or a partner, I would much rather like to see these efforts lead to market triumphs.

The above and other statements on the website suggest the kind of “not-invented-here” culture that has big difficulties adapting to a more outward-focused culture driven by a “re-applied with pride” attitude.

External collaboration needs to go beyond customers:

Corning prides themselves for being good at attending the needs of their customers. This is a good thing, but today you also need to be able to go further and thus beyond customers when it comes to external collaboration.

On a case study with Volkswagen they write this: “Corning assembled its top experts in emissions control—scientists, engineers, and manufacturing leaders with deep and broad knowledge of clean-air technologies—to tackle the Volkswagen challenge.”

They listened to Volkwagen’s need and then they assembled their own top experts. Companies that really get open innovation would pull together not only their own experts but also the external experts whom they would have access to through different networks.

Corning even believes that they have a “unique collaborative culture”. I have a hard time finding evidence of a highly developed collaborative culture and what I believe they have is not even unique; many companies are just as closed as Corning. The big problem is that Corning seemingly fails to understand this is a problem in today’s business climate.

You should also check out the Corning Research FAQ. It is short with only two questions including this one: “Do Corning scientists and engineers collaborate with others outside of Corning to complete their research?”

The reply is that Corning’s technology community is encouraged to collaborate with external academic and research institutions, and you will see a range of authors in their Research Archive that reflect this collaborative approach.

It is just not good enough only to encourage such relationships. You need processes for this.

Put the internal resources to work:

I have no reason to doubt that Corning have many great minds that can make things happen. They even have a very strong intellectual property base that they treasure as their most valued asset.

As you can read, I do not believe Corning gets the future of innovation, as they do not seem to be willing and/or capable to bridge their internal resources with external resources.

I simply have a hard time identifying open innovation-like initiatives and I find this to be strange as I wrote a blog post some time ago based on this BusinessWeek article; Corning’s Silicon Valley Connection.

The article describes how Corning hopes its tech center in Silicon Valley can suck up big ideas from the likes of HP and Google and turn them into new products.

I paid special notice to this statement. “A world leader in industrial research and development, Corning staunchly believes in change.” Perhaps Corning should also consider how they bring changes to their own internal management and innovation processes.

Corning even states that they do everything possible to sustain their culture of innovation. I predict that if what I pick up on this site holds true and if Corning does not change its course on innovation, the same virtues and values that build the company will bring it down. By the way, Corning can find similar lessons from many other companies that no longer exist.

Spend some time on Corning’s site. Can you see the red flags I mention? Now ask yourself if you have some of the same issues at your own company…

http://www.15inno.com/2010/03/04/corning/

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Autor: Gabriel Catalano - human being | (#IN).perfección®

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