Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Open Innovation Vs. Co-creation

Obvious first question is ‘Does Open innovation and Co-creation need to be put against each other or even put together?’

Not really, unless you are already wondering about the differences! You question if there is a common ground. Or simply you want to use these terms and be on the same page with someone else.

Let’s attempt theory of elimination.

In Open innovation, you would have a) a clear need specified b) you would go out of your enterprise boundaries to get those needs fulfilled c) you would expect the solution to be ready or semi ready d) Your solution provider might be a financial beneficiary, but may not be the end user. e) Your needs are highly technical, and you have already figured out the value creation from the expected solution.

(When an enterprise wants molecule A reacting with molecule B with the help of unknown C, so that they can get D. Boundaries are set. A good open innovation candidate is on the table.).

Anything which does not have one or more of above attributes could possibly have a flavor of Co-creation. 

Here is how.

a) You don’t have a clear need or a challenge (circumstantial or by design). You might have a high level goal, for which you are open to define a challenge and solve it using some means.   Or you could be simply tuning in to see what you can pick up.  

b) You are not scouting for a solution; you are scouting for people. These people are enthusiasts or lead users who can work with you to define both the challenge and the solution or either of it. You may or may not go out of your enterprise or may just stick to your known circle like customers, vendors or employees.

c) You do not expect the solution to be ready or semi ready.  Since even the problem is open for definition and zeroing in - you most probably may start with a clean slate.

d) In addition to technical know-how you are banking on the emotional participation from a solution provider. Just like co-founders of a start-up, who are far more interested to crack the right need as a team and not just utilize co-founder as another resource.

e) Your needs may or may not be highly technical in nature. The value expected from the outcome may still not be known and the same is being co-created.

Those being some differences for co-creation with respect to open innovation, are there any similarities?

In both open innovation and co-creation – you are fundamentally trying to leverage resources which are not traditional ones, not necessarily on your payroll, on your approved list of vendor, or certified by someone, and not designated to execute your innovation solution.

You may not upfront know how many will contribute, and that number may not even matter to you!

In both cases you are trying to tap into the long tail phenomenon. Your success rate is not 10 out of 10, but your cost is lower and you are keen to stumble upon value which otherwise could remain hidden or be eventually found at your competition’s camp.

So what do you believe in - open innovation or co-creation, or did you feel like redefining some of the definitions above?

ideaken team enjoys understanding how open innovation and co-creation space is shaping up, and how the innovation platforms must enable enterprises to increase the collaborative innovation yield.