Are You An Innovator? – Open Innovation at Philips – @lindegaard


by Stefan Lindegaard | facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation | Consulting | Connecting | Promoting
Email stefanlindegaard@me.com


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That is the question Philips ask in their current open innovation challenge. Here students, entrepreneurs, and other budding inventors are encouraged to innovate around specific business challenges defined by product categories within the Consumer Lifestyle division at Philips.

Entrants are offered the chance to win a trip to Amsterdam to attend the finalist event, at which they can participate in an innovation masterclass given by Philips innovation specialists and the opportunity to present their innovation to Philips executives.

I am giving this a shout-out because my interactions over the years with Philips tell me that they are doing great things internally to develop an open innovation culture. We just don’t hear that much from Philips and I am thus glad to learn about…

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Our Job is to Invent the Future

If we are trying to innovate, what is our actual job?

According to Mark Earls in Welcome to the Creative Age, our job is to invent the future.

Seems reasonable to me. Here is how he build that argument:

…opinions are what you get back from customers once you’ve done something, so they are largely irrelevant to you. They aren’t the precondition for customers doing something or a good guide to what you should do. At all.

So don’t waste your time with ask/answer research and opinions. Throw away the reassurance of quoting the consumer or stats garnered from opinion polls. Watch your customers, observe them, live with them, but don’t expect them to tell you much themselves. Because they can’t.

Instead, recognize:

* It is your job to invent the future – you are the inventors.
* It is not the customer’s job – they are not good at the future but they might buy your invention if you get it right (or not).


If we are trying to innovate, what is our actual job?

According to Mark Earls in Welcome to the Creative Age, our job is to invent the future.

Seems reasonable to me. Here is how he build that argument:

…opinions are what you get back from customers once you’ve done something, so they are largely irrelevant to you. They aren’t the precondition for customers doing something or a good guide to what you should do. At all.

So don’t waste your time with ask/answer research and opinions. Throw away the reassurance of quoting the consumer or stats garnered from opinion polls. Watch your customers, observe them, live with them, but don’t expect them to tell you much themselves. Because they can’t.

Instead, recognize:

Grassroots Innovation

Veronica Vera pointed me to a great talk by Anil Gupta from TEDIndia. He talks about grassroots innovation, and methods for getting ideas to spread in poorer regions. It’s a fascinating talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/851

Innovation in developing countries is a wildly unappreciated phenomenon – there are incredibly interesting things going on in places like India, China and Brazil. Some of them are built around finding innovative ways to provide goods and services to poorer people at much lower costs. Aravind Eye Care and the Tata Nano car are just two good examples of how this works.

Gupta is talking about something different though. He is not approaching poor people as consumers, but as inventors. This is reflected in one of the slogans of the Honey Bee Network – minds on the margin are not marginal minds. [Más…]


Veronica Vera pointed me to a great talk by Anil Gupta from TEDIndia. He talks about grassroots innovation, and methods for getting ideas to spread in poorer regions. It’s a fascinating talk:

Innovation in developing countries is a wildly unappreciated phenomenon – there are incredibly interesting things going on in places like India, China and Brazil. Some of them are built around finding innovative ways to provide goods and services to poorer people at much lower costs. Aravind Eye Care and the Tata Nano car are just two good examples of how this works.

Gupta is talking about something different though. He is not approaching poor people as consumers, but as inventors. This is reflected in one of the slogans of the Honey Bee Network – minds on the margin are not marginal minds. Leer más “Grassroots Innovation”

How to be Open to Unsolicited Ideas While Staying Responsive and Efficient – Insights from Clorox

Time – with limited resources, could we fast enough assess submissions in a timely way? Fear – that painful negotiations and custom deals with inventors would jam our legal team. This week, we’re trying a new process that tackles both.


The stylized Clorox logo used on Clorox bleach...
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Written by Dr. Andrew Gilicinski who leads Open Innovation Networks at Clorox, working with partners on breakthrough new products. Prior to Clorox, he worked in innovation roles at Gillette and Air Products.

For years I’ve watched open innovation evolved, impressed at the growing array of tools and capabilities. At Clorox we focused on supplier innovation relationships (Win-Balancing) for downstream “seamless” technology creation, a “Lab without Walls”. However, we’ve been slower to adopt external idea portals to engage inventors, for two reasons – time and fear. Leer más “How to be Open to Unsolicited Ideas While Staying Responsive and Efficient – Insights from Clorox”