Unlocking the Potential of Your Open Innovation Program: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Despite its many advantages, open innovation can be tricky. To ensure success, besides knowing what you should be doing, it is important to also understand certain bad practices that you should avoid. Read on to explore more!

Open innovation is a powerful tool for companies to generate new ideas and stay ahead of the competition. However, for open innovation to be effective, besides following the best practices, companies must also be aware of what to avoid. In one of our previous blogs, we talked about 7 Tips to Boost Your Corporate Innovation Program. Today, we will provide you with an overview of the 6 key mistakes that companies should avoid to win at open innovation.

Open innovation often involves sharing information and collaborating with external partners. While this can lead to breakthrough innovations, it is important to protect your company’s intellectual property and avoid exposing sensitive information. On the other hand, open innovation requires a willingness to embrace new ideas and perspectives. Companies that are resistant to change or new ideas may miss out on valuable opportunities.

Successful open innovation also requires time, money, and resources but not as much as in-house innovation development. Without sufficient resources, open innovation efforts may be understaffed or underfunded, leading to poor results. Similarly, it is imperative to clearly define the goals and objectives of open innovation initiatives to ensure they align with your overall business strategy.

Last but not the least, data is essential for measuring the success of open innovation initiatives and identifying areas for improvement. Without a data-driven approach, it is difficult to measure the impact of any innovation and especially open innovation, to make informed decisions.

So, by steering clear of these six common mistakes, your organization can make the most of the opportunities that open innovation offers and reap the rewards of successful collaboration and innovative ideas. Let’s dig in!

Six Common Open Innovation Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not Having Clear Objectives

When you start an open innovation project, companies must understand the objectives of the project and how they relate to both their and your business goals. They should also understand how the open innovation project will improve the end-user experience and meet the needs of the customer base.

So, always be clear about the objectives of your open innovation project from the beginning, as failure to do so can lead to outcomes that are unexpected and confusing to partners and stakeholders. The lack of clear objectives can also derail your program and potentially fail to reap desired results.

2. Not Protecting Intellectual Property (IP)

IP is the core of a business’s overall strategy for protecting its assets. It is critical for companies to protect their IP within an open innovation setting to safeguard their business and the success of the collaboration. This way, companies ensure that their collaboration partners do not use their IP without permission. Specifically, companies must be vigilant in protecting their trademarks and patents. A company’s trademarks are used to identify and distinguish a product from other products. Trademark protection allows a company to stop third parties from using a competitor’s trademark to market its products.

However, trademark infringement is a common source of dispute in open innovation settings. In many cases, trademarks are not distinct enough to prevent third parties from using them to market their products. So, companies should apply for patents as well. This prevents others from using a company’s patented technology in their products and services. Companies that fail to protect their intellectual property can lose their lead in the market as well as their reputation among existing and future collaborators.

Read more about this: Your Guide to Balancing Open Innovation with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

3. Not Assessing the Risk of External Partners

In today’s competitive business landscape, companies must be cautious when choosing partners for collaborations. However, many companies attempt to enter open innovation without assessing the risk of partnering with external companies. This can lead to unnecessary complications at later stages. So, you must evaluate the partner’s reputation and ability to deliver on their promises before making any decision.

You can assess the reputation of external partners by checking the partners’ previous projects and the partners’ track record in similar projects like the one being proposed. Before entering into a partnership agreement with an external company, you must clearly understand the terms of the partnership. One of the key terms is any IP, owned by the company, that partners will receive access to. Companies must also agree to any deadlines or milestones that are associated with the partnership.

You might be interested in: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls In Open Innovation

4. Not Having an Appetite for Risk

Open innovation involves bringing external ideas and knowledge into the organization to solve problems, create new products or services, or improve existing ones. To successfully engage in open innovation, organizations need to have an open and receptive mindset. A closed mindset can lead to a lack of curiosity, creativity, and a failure to embrace diverse perspectives, which are all essential to effective open innovation.

Not having an open mind can also limit the willingness to take risks and experiment with new approaches. Open innovation often involves testing and implementing new ideas, which requires a certain level of risk-taking and experimentation. If organizations are not open to taking risks or trying new things, they may struggle to innovate and stay ahead of their competitors. Having said that, the risks involved in open innovation are usually milder than in developing innovation capabilities completely in-house.

Also read: Build a Culture of Innovation in Your Organization

5. Not Dedicating Enough Resources to Open Innovation

Unfortunately, many companies fail to see the potential of open innovation. This is often because the benefits of using this approach are not readily apparent. You need to be aware of how you can benefit from it. However, to reap the benefits of open innovation, you should dedicate enough resources to open innovation.

Many companies invest in the wrong partners or invest in the wrong type of partners in the wrong areas. You must understand that an effective way to use open innovation is to invest in the right areas to maximize your chances of success. And most times, you need to fight to get the budget you need to run a successful open innovation program.

You might find this helpful: Run Low Cost Innovation Programs

6. Not Having a Data-Driven Approach

Always remember that the most successful open innovation projects are the projects that leverage data. An effective data-driven approach allows companies to identify potential partners, track and analyze the outcomes of the project, and identify ways to improve and iterate on the approach.

We have spoken enough about what not to do in an open innovation program and why — but, don’t let these demotivate you. The list of things to do is much bigger and more exciting than these don’ts. Let’s explore one of the must-dos — leveraging our product for scaling your open innovation reach and finding quality applicants!

Maximize Your Open Innovation Potential with StartUs Insights

Planning and managing open innovation programs, especially startup challenges, requires a lot of work, including but not limited to the following:

  • Designing the challenge
  • Releasing and promoting the challenge
  • Keeping track of the application process
  • Answering the queries of the participants
  • Screening the applications

But, don’t worry, we are here to make your lives easier! Why settle for less when you can get a high number of relevant companies in a few days? This is where our Startup Program Service comes in.

We, at StartUs Insights, manage & promote your innovation program in two ways:

  • Direct Outreach — Using the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, our expert analysts shortlist more than 2 000 relevant startups catering to your criteria from a huge database of 2 093 000+ companies and directly reach out to them with your offer and convince them to apply.
  • Promotional Activities — Our marketing ninjas produce informative SEO-driven articles promoting the program to be published in our blog and super-engaging social media copies that are posted across our social media channels.

Apart from the core services mentioned above, we also offer:

  • Setup of Conversion-Optimized Landing Page — Don’t have the time or bandwidth to create the web page for your program? Taking maximum advantage of our experience with SEO-optimized content, we set up the landing page of your startup program to attract more applicants.
  • Applicant Pre-screening — Received more applicants than you can handle (because we did an amazing job, *insert wink*)? We got you! Our in-house trained analysts will analyze startup data to pre-screen the applicants with the best potential.

Read this next: Accelerate Open Innovation with Data-driven Startup Programs




Why Should You Partner with StartUs Insights?

  • Receive High-Quality Applications — Your message needs to travel to thousands so that you have plenty of options to choose the best startups from. Our conversion channels reach hundreds of thousands to make sure the most relevant ones convert to your program.
  • Optimize the Program Effort — We offer you our experience and knowledge gathered while transforming the largest European startup and innovation community into a global network. This results in a lean and conversion-optimized setup for your startup program.
  • Build Long-Term Awareness — We understand that with every program cohort, it becomes more and more challenging to reach relevant startups. We make sure to increase the value of our network and reach every day so that you can benefit from it in the long term.

Don’t forget to read: How to Win at Open Innovation as a B2B Company

What do Our Clients think of StartUs Insights Startup Program Service?

Our data-driven promotion, direct outreach, and storytelling reach hundreds of thousands of startups and scaleups, making sure you attract the most relevant ones. This is why 500+ companies trust us with their startup programs!

Iberdrola is a leading global renewable energy company committed to energy transition with a sustainable business model based on renewables, smart grids, large-scale energy storage, and digital transformation to offer the most advanced products and services. The renewables leader has successfully run 20+ startup challenges with our support.

Curious what is Iberdrola’s feedback on our service?

“Through collaborating with StartUs Insights, we discovered new startups for pilot projects and are able to find & test new ideas that improve and generate new business opportunities.”

— Oscar Cantalego, Startup Program Manager, Iberdrola

So, for your next Open Innovation Program, work with us to discover the best startups and scaleups to collaborate with & take your innovation program to the next level!

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