In my previous post, The Frustration of Open Innovation, Tim Kastelle added a comment that inspired me to a quick response.
Tim mentioned that he also see much frustration among people working with innovation. As I do, he also find it hard to help innovative – and frustrated – people who work in a non-innovative company.
Tim recommends that you should do as much as people can get away with – to just start experimenting within the scope of the budget and authority that they have. Tim says this often works for innovation in general, but he questions whether this would work for open innovation. He also asked a key question: Is it possible to have open innovation without top management buy-in?
In my response to Tim, I mentioned that at a recent workshop, we talked about what to do when you work in a company that is not committed to innovation. The best advice we came up with was to try to “influence back” towards your managers and executives. However, this is difficult and even if you are able to influence higher ranked people it takes a lot of time.
My other piece of advice is simple. Leave. Find another job. If you really want to make innovation happen your odds are better if you find a different company rather than staying and trying to turn things around in a place that is not committed to innovation. You can do the latter, but again: it is difficult and it takes time.
The funny thing here is that people in large corporations quickly get used to the way things work in such places. Thus they end up staying rather than pursuing better opportunities. It is amazing how fast many people get stuck for the wrong reasons.
My response to Tim’s other question is simple too. No, you can not have open innovation without top management support.