Open innovation generates great ideas, so why aren't companies adopting them?

Dirk Deichmann, I Rozentale, R Barnhoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


Today, many companies see open innovation — a process for sharing knowledge and ideas with other organizations — as a core part of their strategy for developing new offerings. Oddly, however, although both the depth and breadth of intercompany collaboration continues to increase, the actual adoption of the ideas developed this way does not seem to be rising at the same pace. Similar to earlier studies, the authors’ research suggests the reasons more ideas from open innovation aren’t being adopted are political and cultural, not technical. Multiple gatekeepers, skepticism regarding anything ”not invented here,” and turf wars all hold back adoption. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Independent design agencies, whose survival depends ultimately on their clients’ using their ideas, have long faced this same challenge. They have developed a variety of techniques to encourage clients to adopt their concepts. To learn about their techniques that other kinds of business might apply, the authors examined seven cases where seven design agencies engaged in various innovative projects with organizations from sectors that they wouldn’t normally work with, including a hospital, an industrial flooring manufacturer, a government agency, and a public transport operator. They compared ideas that were adopted to those that ran aground and were not implemented by the organization. They found that successful designers took five strategic actions to cultivate flexibility and trust.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHarvard Business Review
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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