Businesses come in all shapes, sizes, and types. There are the huge multinationals that have their fingers in every sector and industry, there are one-person shops with nothing more than a home office and a dream, and there is everything else in between. While they all have different needs and different goals, the fact is that they can all make use of open innovation platforms to help grow and evolve. Being able to access external competencies allows companies to affordably and effectively develop new products and services, fine-tune their processes and procedures, and even access industry experts. These options are all available through innovation platforms that provide the connections that a business needs with the innovators that can help.
There are many people out there who not only don’t want to work for someone else, but they don’t even want to work with someone else, either. Whether that’s the reason, or it’s just a matter of finances, one-person businesses are very common, and can make great use out of open innovation platforms.
Even the smartest, most experienced person in the world cannot be an expert at everything. There are aspects of their business for which they need help, and open innovation can provide the solution. It can be as simple as creating a logo or some content, or it can be finding a company that will provide a custom payment system. Whatever issues this tiny business has, it can reach out to innovators online and find solutions for them.
Individuals who run their own businesses do not have the time to take on every role they need in their company. In addition, they have a lot of risk if the business fails. By finding new stakeholders and partners, they can share the risk while also leveraging their expertise and competencies to grow.
Startups are a lot of hard work, especially at the beginning. It’s important to stay lean and flexible so you can react to whatever the market is throwing at you. A startup can’t afford to spend big dollars on marketing, product development, and consultants. An open innovation platform can help you achieve everything you need without having to spend big bucks on contactors or on hiring someone permanently.
Startups often stall out because they become stagnant. The original idea that fuelled the business reaches its natural end point, and the business needs to adapt or die. Adapting can be hard. Maybe the leadership doesn’t have any more ideas, or they have a sticky problem that they simply can’t solve. Embracing open innovation can help that business break free and evolve in the way it needs to.
Most startups do not have an R&D division to help develop new products and services. However, through open innovation, a startup can affordably offer new options to their clients, and build their client base at the same time. There’s no need to hire consultants and experts when the information they need is already out there waiting to be discovered. Using an open innovation platform connects you to the experts, businesses, and third-party entities that can make it all work.
Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can also benefit greatly from open innovation. Companies of this size might be starting to compete with the big fish, and therefore need all the help they can get. Luckily, SMEs tend to be more flexible, and can pivot quickly if trends change or if something isn’t working. It’s never been more possible for smaller enterprises to compete with the larger ones on certain levels, and that greatly has to do with open innovation.
Now, SMEs have similar access to technologies, services, and expertise that the larger companies do. Open innovation platforms can connect SMEs to startups and experts who have what they need to solve their issues and develop their products. In the past, large companies would snatch up smaller organizations to keep the information and technology to themselves. With open innovation, more and more experts and startups are keeping their products and services for themselves, and selling them to whoever wants access. It makes for not just an even playing field, but also creates a myriad of possibilities for partnerships to help share risk and compete.
As SMEs reach a certain size, they will need to develop and produce new products and services at a faster rate if they want to grow. Most do not have the internal talent or capacity to do R&D on their own in an acceptable time frame. Searching for innovators who can handle the R&D side of things frees the company up to continue business as usual as well as build for the future. It allows them to go beyond their internet R&D limitations to create new and exciting products and services. All of this without having to hire an entire team or R&D professionals who may or may not work out. Instead, an SME can contract a company that is doing great things already.
Large companies can leverage open innovation as well. There are large multinationals that run contests to name products, provide new product ideas, or to come up with marketing slogans. They are leveraging the size of their audience to come up with new ideas, but also to create a community around their brand. Consumers can feel like they have ownership and agency with a company that otherwise might be faceless to them. Open innovation platforms allow companies, big and small, to take advantage of crowdsourcing opportunities from the general public, or from specialized audiences, such as industry experts.
Open innovation is changing the way everyone does business. Everything and everyone can be connected, so there is more information available, and more products and services available than ever before. Therefore, if you need something to grow your business, or if you have a seemingly insurmountable process issue, you can find the help you need through an open innovation platform. By accessing external competencies, you can make your business stronger, and set it up to grow in the future, no matter what size of company it is.