During the fourth industrial revolution, new technologies are constantly created and there is no shortage of promising new ideas. In a world where ideas are a dime a dozen and their end-to-end implementation – the ultimate measure of success, what are some of the effective ways to foster, capture and follow up on innovative concepts and opportunities for enterprises?
Open Innovation Programs (OIPs) created or sponsored by large multinationals, bodies of research or academia, all aim to not only provide an environment that fosters actionable ideas and programs, but also build structures that allow for the most promising ones to develop further. As part of this important effort, many open innovation programs create online communities that they want to connect, engage and crowdsource ideas from.
Open Innovation Community Characteristics
In most OIPs today, the sponsoring organizations invest significant efforts and resources in priming their communities for collaborative participation, engaging previous users or high-potential members early on. Still, proportionately fewer efforts are being invested in sourcing and recruiting future promising community members – or those who are yet to contribute. Doing this systemically could result in contribution and implementation biases – hardly the goal of innovation programs and communities.
Effective Ways to Avoid Bias
Bias exists in all rule-bases societies and mechanisms; being aware of the risk of producing less-than-optimal results is key. To allow innovation to follow its natural course in Open Innovation Communities, program and community members must actively work towards preventing, detecting and resolving potential bias based on previous successes, group-think or the underdog concept.
Awareness in the first place is key to solving bias consistently. To be sure they are effectively managing community discussions while actively seeking to detect and resolve bias in its early stages, administrators should keep the following guidelines in mind:
- When evaluating the most promising innovation concepts, the ideas and experience of both incumbents and newcomers are equally important; an effort must be made to consistently encourage conversations and collaboration between the two.
- To take advantage of high-potential community members, the organization must actively seek them out, by regularly analyzing their best contributors and thus, identifying high-potential community members who need to be engaged and encouraged further.
- To be able to attract high contributors, the organization needs to make sure its programs also attract users with complementary skills.
- The software used By Open Innovation Programs to manage the process of innovation should allow for effective community management, data extraction and analytics. This will facilitate the process of identifying trends and managing non-empirical data.