Successful open innovation tactics

Successful open innovation tactics

Successful open innovation tactics 1500 1000 Ingrid Willems

Companies are continuously looking for ways to improve their organization, optimize cost and realise growth. Companies applying the right resources, tools and processes, in short the right models for successful open innovation are better equipped than competition to meet the many challenges that digital transformation presents.

“Most innovations fail, and companies that don’t innovate, die”


In this post I share from my own experience some models for successful open innovation that worked out and benefited all involved parties. Open Innovation, the outside-in approach and the management of a growing network of internal and external partners has become mainstream.

Collaborative product design and development

One of the benefits of collaborating in an open innovation setting is that companies get access to innovative products and solutions. Given some adaptions, these products might fit their specific needs.

The innovation process starts by inviting startups or technology providers to pitch their available solution. When co-developing a use-case specific product, contributors start with the end solution in mind. They access and exploit the initially available solution with the ambition to extend the product’s functionality to fit their specific needs.

Collaborative product design and development increases the overall value of the product for everyone involved. The resulting products and services not only make it to market faster but often satisfy unmet or unrealized needs better than would the products of internal-only innovation.

ING Innovation and DataScouts entered such a co-development process. The end product allows ING Innovation Bankers to gather meaningful account insights when building their open innovation ecosystem and approaching the tech sector with a new service offering.

”To detect potential opportunities. DataScouts puts all relevant actors on a map and helps to gain new insights on the ecosystem. That’s how we discovered areas − that weren’t on our radar before − where it would be interesting to look for new partnerships”.

Stephane Leliaert, Innovation Banker at ING

Sector oriented Innovation networks

Contributing to open innovation networks opens doors to customers, suppliers, technology providers, experts, soul mates and many others.

An innovation network taps into the collective intelligence of its members. Enthusiastic members of the community are always willing to devote time and ideas to help. These relationships are crucial to conduct market research more efficiently, learn about early signals, trends and emerging technologies.

Forward Fooding is such a global network of entrepreneurs. They are on a mission to foster food innovation in order to redesign our food system.

To build a better food system within the next few decades, both startups and corporates must get involved. The power of collaboration begins with teamwork, partnership, and cooperation.

Alessio D’Antino

Forward Fooding developed the FoodTech Data Navigator to their collective intelligence tool leveraging DataScouts. It helps to navigate the Agri-FoodTech ecosystem, to conduct research, uncover trends and develop forward-looking insights. It captures the latest startup companies, investors, accelerators and incubators. It tracks and delivers insight-rich data.

Building a strong internal innovation community

It is imperative to make innovation a legitimate part of how a company does business. Innovation is about running an entire business instead of being a side-game. Innovation is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Therefore Innovation Managers need to find internal allies and build their internal innovation community. By doing so, they create a space for innovation in strategy, in budgets, in the org chart and in operations.

Roche Diabetes Care monitors the innovators in the diabetes scene around the world. They leverage DataScouts as open innovation platform enabling to build a common knowledge base, share insights and feedback. The platform lists all known startups and scale-ups developing diabetes solutions. It captures publications, articles and social media posts. The open innovation funnel is visualising their operational efficiency in screening new opportunities.

Government driven cross disciplinary collaboration

In an age of rapidly changing technology, fashion — like almost every other industry — is re-inventing itself. An EU-funded consortium, WEAR, has been playing its part, bringing together the high-tech and fashion industries to address ethical and environmental concerns.

WEAR Sustain engages creative professionals, designers and artists across Europe, sharing knowledge to co-create and market the next generation of wearables. The initiative has brought together 46 teams of designers and scientists to develop fully functional prototypes of wearables.

All projects were chiefly selected on how they respond to challenges related to ethics and sustainability.

Dr. Heritiana Ranaivoson, senior researcher and WEAR project coordinator

The outcome of their experiments, best practices and relevant resources are shared in the online knowledge platformWEAR Sustain, leading the way in ethical and sustainable wearable technology innovation. WEAR Sustain provides access to a strategy toolkit helping set guidelines and best practices for design, materials circularity and product life-cycle development.

Consortium partners as well as industry players continue to bring a deep motivation and passion to influence and change industry practices.


Open innovation is not a new idea. It has become a popular aspect of the innovation value chain. More and more organizations learn to innovate in an authentic way. They leverage the right models for successful open innovation.

Companies applying the right resources, tools and processes for successful open innovation are better equipped than competition to meet the many challenges that digital transformation presents.

About WCD

We Connect Data helps organisations navigate today’s fast changing and thus less predictable business environment. Access to (f)actual information leads to smarter business decisions. We therefore encourage organisations to systematically collect data, to establish data-driven business processes and to embrace collaborative platforms.