Winning companies engage in the innovation ecosystem

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 13 August 2015 10:35 AM CAT
Sustaining an innovation economy means evolving, adapting, re-imagining and reinventing to create and utilise new ideas and information into both existing and new products and services. 
[The innovation ecosystem is the term used to describe the large and diverse array of participants and resources that contribute to and are necessary for ongoing innovation in a modern economy.]

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Corporations and other organisations such as NGOs, and government agencies that embrace an innovation ecosystem through cleverly implemented collaboration will be ahead of the game. Interestingly, Morton Hansen, in his book Collaboration, notes that bad collaboration is better than none at all.

He also explores the P&G case study of an ailing entity in 2000 that brought in a relatively unknown, A.G Lafley as CEO.

“In what amounted to a stoic move when the army in the battlefield was about to collapse, Lafley did not respond to turbulence with more turbulence, Instead, he refocused the company on what P&G has always done best – growing existing brands bit by bit through innovation and collaboration across the company,” writes Hansen.

Collaboration was an important ingredient in Lafley’s recovery plan. He articulated a new goal: “We want P&G to be known as the company that collaborates – inside and out – better than any other company in the world.”

P&G today continues to embrace open innovation.


From P&G’s website 

What is Open Innovation?

Open innovation, also known as crowdsourcing or co-creation, is a way for companies to harness the ideas and strength of people outside their organisation to make improvements to internal processes or products. Many companies, from automobile manufacturers to technology companies seek input from those outside their organization for solving some of their trickiest problems.


Open innovation is also a way for companies to avoid the stale, repetitive thinking that can happen when employees are accustomed to their internal ways of solving problems. By including more outside ideas, companies can ensure their ideas stay fresh and new while providing opportunities for those outside their organisation to participate in technology development. 

Open innovation is without boundaries in its cross-functional, cross-institutional nature. But beyond engaging the ethos and philosophy to support open innovation, those embracing the innovation economy recognise the need for collaboration enablers.

Janice Scheckter heads up Indigo New Media and a team that champions collaboration and devises smart ways to ensure collaboration can thrive.

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