Archives par mot-clé : Open Innovation

To innovate you need connections!

EcosystemExactly as the wild life, you need an adapted ecosystem to foster innovation.

As I already wrote in a previous article, the lonely innovator is a myth (in french). You need an adequate ecosystem both inside and outside your organisation to innovate wisely and fast.

Innovation comes from the inside

Of course without a strong commitment of your organisation, your team will hardly innovate. The recipe to have a strong innovation mindset within your company is key but difficult to find. Many attempts will be made before finding all the necessary ingredients and quantities. However, some fundamentals can be listed:

  • Strong involvement of the management, from top to low level.
    From my point of view that’s the most important point. People have to see that innovation is clearly a strategic goal and according to that goal, management acts to achieve it. It will also give a lot of confidence and energy to the innovation team which will have hard times and deserts to cross.
  • Available tools. Good tooling doesn’t make a bad worker a good one but it can help, definitely help. Among the tools that helps innovation we can list:team, meeting, working, office, business, post-it notes, papers, startup
    • creativity method: there are a lot out there. I use a 5 diamond one that have been developed some +10 years ago and which I now help to keep alive and align on best practice. A must have.
    • Innovation Lab: Mine has two areas : One to be creative, work on business model canvas, have an open mind etc… The second is really a FabLab with prototyping and mock-ups possibilities, a 3D printer, an arduino test bench etc…
  • A dedicated location. Your innovation Lab can be this area where people know they can go to organise meetings, meet-ups to think a bit differently. In our lab, walls are of different colours (it also helps to define the different areas), quotes are on the walls, magazines and newspapers are on the table, nice coloured chairs…
  • Some kind of freedom. Most organisation use a very defined and limited process to handle R&D and even Innovation. Having a dedicated process to handle innovation is already fine (it show also the management interest if they deal with another process 😉 ) but it has to be faster, easier, smother and more agile than the existing ones. At the end it gives some more freedom and possibilities to the employees to test… eventually fail but may be succeed.

If I set everything upwards, I am done to innovate? Not really…

You will not innovate alone

Really few organisation are able to innovate by themselves. One can list some like Intel, Google, IBM… not even sure that Apple would have been what it is now by itself. Some Must-Have should be put in place by your innovation team:

  • Connection to the academic world and best schoolsharbad, university, boston, school, campus, buildings, architecture, trees, grass, sunshine, grounds
    Very few companies have the abilities to develop cutting-edge technologies by themselves. Early access to coming technologies is key to disrupt your market and achieve the so-called blue ocean. To do so, you have to deploy a net all around you and especially at top universities, engineering schools… Don’t forget to map the business schools around you as more and more innovation are on the business model side. In Lyon where I work, I have around me and connection with a top university, 2 of the most successful engineering schools and a top 3 business school. that’s key.. and also key to source wonderful interns 😉
  • Connection to your peers
    Benchmarking your practices is really healthy to innovate faster and to not being stick in a way that doesn’t work that good. finding your peers is really powerful. It gives you a good view of the best practices and help you to position your innovation process among what exists in the place. I have access myself to more than 30 peers, innovation managers of directors of established companies with who I share our approach and practices. Fairly efficient. Even to exchange technologies and suppliers if your business are far enough.
  • Connection to the entrepreneurs world, from start-ups to mid sized companies
    I do it using 2 ways. First the business Union and the french Industry council: works fine. However the best way to get in touch with what is going on is to go out of our frontiers. I have taken parts to Start-ups week-ends, meet-ups, presentations, pitch challenges… that helps a lot.
  • Connection to officials
    Don’t forget to have connections with officials and of course mainly those dealing with the business side. Depending of your country and town, they can be from the state, the region, the city or some specialized council. Don’t forget it because it can really help in some particular cases.


Innovating is a hard job. Put all chances on your side by developing a favourable ecosystem around you. that’s key.

What items would you add to this ecosystem? Please leave a comment.


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Opinions are my own.


Open Innovation (2): good practices

Open Innovation
Open Innovation

In a previous article I was talking about the fears the parties could have in an Open Innovation partnership. Here I will propose you some good practice, especially regarding Intellectual property, which is key in this kind of relationships.

A real win /win

When I have had to deal an Open Innovation contract, I never faced a fail due to a real simple approach. From the start of the discussion, as I work in a big company (this article reflects my opinion and not my company by the way), I have made things very clear.

If we work together it is on a win / win basis. We help you to develop your concept/technology/usage or whatever you would like, but in exchange, You will grant me a free license to sue it in my domain. It si a quite easy deal when the domain you are working in is not mainstream. It can be more complicated if you are in the targeted business of the start-up.

Explain, explain and explain

Even if it is less and less the case, start-ups don’t always have legals that take the time to explain them the contract. Do it. Explain it. A clear situation is a situation that will hardly go bad.

Think about different kind of partnership: Money is not the only way

Often in Open Innovation we think about giving money to the developers to develop faster of in a way that fulfil your requirements. However you have much more to offer as an established company, I just listed some of the ones I have in mind right now. Be creative!

  • your brand (co-branding could be a win /win)
  • your sales network
  • your offices (house start-ups inside your offices… It’s huge! It gives your company a taste of start-ups and thus motivates your employees… really good for your performance=
  • your IQ (do you have engineers? Marketing specialist? Production specialist that will help schifting from small series to WW product? that’s gold for a start-up)

Open Innovation is key to leverage innovation. Even if it seems difficult at the beginning it is simple and really powerful. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Do you see other points to take into account? Leave a comment to share.


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Open Innovation (1): What are your fears?

Open Innovation
Open Innovation

In Open Innovation, terms of contract are key. Especially when a (big) established company is dealing with a start-up. I will not speak about an open innovation contract among big companies, that kind of contract are well handled by companies legals.

The fears of start-upers

Imagine one moment that you are working like a dog on developing your start-up. At one point someone comes. He is interested in your work and would like to work with you on an OpenInnovation contract. What would be your analysis?

  • He/She wants to steal my technology, or
  • He/She wants to buy my company  to develop the concept (happy), or
  • He/She wants to buy my company to kill the concept or internalize it (unhappy)

If as an established company you are not clear from the beginning there are very few chances that you will actually collaborate…
However established company also have concerns working with small start-ups.

The concerns of established companies

Working with start-ups is…strange for a big company. The time horizon, the speed, the reactivity is clearly not the same and can completely panic your partners. Their concerns are simple but can be difficult to solve or handle:

  • Are those guy serious?
  • Will they stop their activity soon? Is the financial statement ok?
  • How can I work work a company that have no Sales?
  • Are they ISO?

Seems strange to you but those are remarks I have faced several times.

Once that you have made that clear statement once have to ask what are the really important things when building an open innovation partnership? We will discuss that in Open Innovation (2)

Do you see some other concerns for both parties? Leave a comment.


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