Simply put, innovation is the creation of a viable offering. Its value construct requires identifying the problems that matter and moving through them systematically to deliver elegant solutions. Innovation is seen and felt not only at the product or services level but in the firm’s supply chain, processes, and its ability to promote learning and transfer of knowledge. The increasingly global nature of business forces, ultimately facilitates innovation providing that firms can sense, adapt, reconfigure and transform in a timely manner.
At its core, innovation occurs within three broad areas:
- At the “Configuration” level which are focused on business delivery, structures, profit model network and internal processes
- At the “Offering” level, focused primarily on its product system and product performance
- At the “Experience” level, focused on customer engagements, channels, brand and personalisation.
For instance, when innovation takes place at a process level, it usually contains tacitness and complexity (in other words, a fair amount of causal ambiguity) then, the simple attempt to imitate it externally is usually futile.
Innovation is the backbone of the modern world. Beyond a new product, service, or idea, innovation, as we know it today, is a lifestyle. From a business perspective, innovation helps a firm stand out from its competitors. This enables them to thrive in the business world.
Open innovation takes this a step further. It combines internal and external ideas as well as internal and external paths to market, to advance the development of new technologies. Research from the Stockholm school of Economics found that the largest firms implement organizational modes of open innovation on average 1.5 times more than the medium-sized and the smallest ones.
Certain vehicles such as corporate venture capital, talent on-demand, incubators and accelerators are more conducive to open innovation than others. This living concept solves problems by developing solutions following a deep analysis of the state of a company.
Open innovation involves knowledge ecosystems, business ecosystems and bilateral collaboration. To succeed innovatively, there are elements that merit the consideration of major decision-makers:
The evolution company’s goals and ambitions.
What type of existing problems need to be solved?
What are the gaps that need to be filled, from a staffing or capabilities’ perspective?
Whether external input, such as executive leadership, is necessary indefinitely or on an as-needed basis.
Furthermore, open innovation could be the medium through which companies reach their end goals. Through it, they combine internal and external sources. Successful companies that prioritize strategic open innovation in their operations include Samsung, Facebook, Lego, Philips, and many more.
Inbound vs Outbound Innovation
Inbound and outbound innovation are both facets of open innovation. The former refers to acquiring expertise from outside sources. The latter indicates repurposing innovation that is not in use within an organization. This is achieved by promoting an outbound flow of information and resources, such as by means of a joint venture.
Jennifer Van der Meer describes Dutch firms as reluctant to take part in the use of exporting mechanisms (i.e. outbound practices), with only 54% highly innovative companies using them vs. 74% adopting importing mechanisms (i.e. inbound practices). Further research found that, generally, open innovation seems to be a complement to internal R&D but that an increased use of inbound activities is employed as a substitute for internal R&D. Hence, inbound open innovation activities can reduce the R&D intensity of a company.
The Shift From Closed Innovation to Open Innovation. Mutually exclusive?
Many consider closed innovation as an antiquated way of doing business. In effect, it is a system that is insistent upon one way of achieving objectives. Generally speaking, the consensus was that a business should hoard the best staff and resources. Backed by their own research and development efforts, they would have the key to success.
The traditional mindset fostered by closed innovation practices is intended on protecting crucial information and intellectual property solely for securing an advantage over competitors.
On the contrary, open innovation invites outside sources to join in research and development initiatives. In this model, there is a trade of expertise and collaboration for mutual benefit.
But are these two models, or principles, mutually exclusive?
This is not to say that open innovation should be the preferred vehicle to competitive advantage. Closed innovation has its place, especially when technologies are closely linked and integrated at the product level (Apple) or when closed innovation produces a clear and fundamental advantage over competitors.
Research from the University of Oxford by D. Gann argues that it is not true that “the more openness, the better” since it can be costly and it is not always easy to have a high degree of openness. Indeed, the approach chosen by companies should depend on its coherence with the strategic, organizational and managerial contexts and on an acceptable balance between the benefits and costs.
Open innovation is not a replacement for closed innovation but should rather be regarded as complementary. Businesses that combine these two principles, and have the internal structures to support such moves, are better positioned to deliver outcomes in a rapidly changing environment.
How to Tap Into Consulting Marketplaces
A key component of open innovation strategy is access. A major player in the innovative workspace is the consulting marketplace. In 2020, the global consulting marketplace was estimated to be worth 132 billion USD.
Previously for instance, access to the desired expert would not have been attainable for a startup firm. Onboarding costs alone may exceed what a business can afford to bring on new talent. This applies to established businesses with an existing following as well.
Perhaps a firm doesn’t need to bring on an executive leader for the remainder of its life, at least not at the moment. Businesses shouldn’t have to stop the generation of new ideas and services.
Suppose a new homeowner has the desire to do a one-time landscaping project on their own and they need specialized machinery. Would it be feasible or necessary to buy six-figure excavation equipment? The homeowner has the option to rent an excavator at a lower cost, which would meet their needs and make the most sense financially.
Consulting marketplaces are spaces in which leaders and experts can connect to create and influence. How can a firm join this freelance marketplace?
From a client perspective, getting started is quite simple. After a brief registration process, businesses can invite experts to apply to their posted assignments. The selection process begins shortly thereafter. And, as in the case of Cognisium, matching algorithms can send you a list of suitable experts in less than 48 hours.
Open Innovation and Experts
The outlook on freelancers has shifted substantially from viewing them as inexpensive labour to highly sought-after professionals in their craft. Organisations need specialists in their field. Masters that can bring fresh perspectives and solutions to the table.
Cognisium connects businesses with independent freelancers and even provides a preview of the skills we offer before registration. What kind of experts are invited to join the Cognisium workforce? These experts in open innovation offer corporate experience, mastery of financial concepts, exceptional project management skills, and technological dexterity.
Not all consulting marketplaces offer the high-quality level of proficiency as Cognisium, as demonstrated by the collaborators in the Cognisium community.
Successfully Implement a Blended Workforce Strategy
Merging existing teams with new players brought on to aid the development of a firm can be a challenge. It is crucial to reassure the current staff that the addition of fractional staff is not a reflection of lack of meaningful contribution.
The introduction of such freelance associates should not be used to threaten or discourage existing staff. In this way, freelance experts, whether executives, creatives, analysts, or others, remain a part of existing ongoing projects and continue to contribute meaningfully.
A firm’s personnel should feel that they are being invited to take part in tapping into a prime resource. The full time employee value proposition needs to change. Here, the leadership’s role in explaining a) the new competitive landscape and b) what is expected from the employee of the future, are both crucial.
The core employee value proposition will entail a re-envisioning of their role in the company. They will become enablers of specialised work, and connectors of work packages and initiatives to deliver more scalable and profitable results. As a result, a cultural shift will also need to take place so that the incoming on-demand experts be viewed not as a threat but as part of a blended workforce strategy geared for optimum quality and delivery.
Is Integration of the Consulting Marketplace Right for All Business Models?
The question is really whether all businesses want to succeed, grow, and contribute to society in a favourable way. As long as businesses have needs—problems that need solving—tapping into resources that are not immediately available within a firm is an excellent solution.
Certain executive professionals or advisors may not be in demand indefinitely within an organization. Perhaps a firm wants to enter a new market or restructure the existing business. In these cases, external advice is not only beneficial but necessary. Investing in a temporary, expert consultant leads to saving money in the long run, far past the end of the project at hand.
Cognisium allows its clients to handpick their collaborators. When partnering with some consultant firms, clients don't have the option to select who they would like to work with. Many are deterred from tapping into the consulting marketplace for this reason.
Hire Experts to Bridge the Gap Between Issue and Innovation
The pandemic has highlighted the need for businesses to innovate in order to survive. Trust is one of the trends that successful businesses are implementing to move forward. Survival through, the ever-changing political, social, and economic landscape depends on it.
Other goals should be fostering positive relationships through user experience and the way client data is used.
The aforementioned are needs that exist in all business types. Yet, not all businesses may afford or even need a full-time senior professional. This does not mean that such business obligations should not be met. Cognisium offers top talent executive and senior professional-level consultants in over 30 industries. Some of the industries served are:
Cognisium aids in creating and fostering healthy partnerships between clients and experts. A partnership with Cognisium is the catalyst to getting to the root of issues, identifying needs and proven solutions.
For access to a network of freelance consultants for open innovation, contact us at Cognisium or register today.
About Cognisium Pty Ltd
Cognisium is a market leading, talent on-demand global technology company that builds successful business relationships. We are a marketplace for freelance independent consultants at executive and senior professional level.
Cognisium provides timely, cost efficient connections between the world's top independent consultants and businesses in particular small to medium enterprises.
Cognisium has its headquarters and support centre in Australia and a satellite office in Dubai, with its platform developed in Israel.
Businesses or executives interested in accessing Cognisium platform can do so at https://www.cognisium.com For further information contact: Corporate and Investor Relations Cognisium Pty Ltd T: +61.8.61626040 E: firstname.lastname@example.org