One of the most critical professional challenges that employees face today is being able to successfully manage positive change within their organization. Innovation has become a watch word, with so many divisions not being able to find enough valuable ideas and then successfully manage those ideas into a commercial offering that sometimes companies even respond to customer tickets and bugs and simply label those results as “innovation.”

This is why many organizations are turning to open innovation, which is the model wherein firms can access ideas from outside the boundaries of their organization (looking to customers, partners, even competitors for ideas and help in managing those ideas) and then using those ideas to build their innovation roadmap – whether it’s improving their services, processes, or business model.

However, many organizations are still in an experimental phase and need help reaching innovation maturity. For those folks that want to get started, but aren’t sure where to begin we offer these four tips:

Start small

Many departments and organizations are intimidated at the prospect of opening up brainstorming. They worry about the value of ideas and intellectual property. To help prove the concept, start with a small campaign with a fixed focus and invite a group of people who are passionate about improving your offering – maybe even just a small group of employees.

Build in some room to fail

Not every new project can knock it out of the park. 70% of startups never get out of their first eighteen months, 68% of IT projects aren’t delivered. But the ~30% that do succeed can be real head-turners. Innovation programs need to be able to take the time to discover which ideas are going to change your business and which ones will be duds.

Generate some early wins

Not every new idea is complex or disruptive. Some changes are easy to evaluate and easy to implement with big impacts. When considering which ideas to implement, flagging some just-do-it ideas is a great way to gain some legitimacy and faith in an open innovation program.


Once an innovation team has proven even some measurable value, it is much easier to apply those same processes and goals to other projects. Invite others to use your same innovation community and start inviting more people to be a part of the process.

Executives from RocketSpace and IdeaScale will discuss how to create open innovation programs that gather great ideas and transform those ideas into commercial value in a live web event on June 3rd. Register to attend that event here >

By Rob Hoehn

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.