Open Innovation: Henry Chesbrough on Barriers, Success Stories, and Business Unit Support

In a recent conference call, Innovation Leader Editor and Co-Founder Scott Kirsner spoke with open innovation guru Henry Chesbrough about how open innovation is being practiced at companies like Intel, Eli Lilly, Bayer, and United HealthCare; budgets and business unit ties; and some of the common barriers to making open innovation part of the way people work every day, rather than a one-off event.

How the United States Marine Corps is Accelerating Tech Acquisition and Embracing the Maker Movement

The United States Marine Corps works under an incredible imperative to continuously innovate for the purpose of securing our nation. However, it is also faced with the challenges of being a 242-year-old organization of over 300,000 “employees.” As part of our IL Live series of conference calls, Capt. Christopher Wood discussed some of the key inflection points in the Marine Corps’ history of innovation, and how the Corps is looking to foster the spirit of innovation today.

What Open Innovation Impact Looks Like at Electrolux

Lucia Chierchia is the Open Innovation Director at Electrolux Group’s Global Technology Center in Bologna, Italy. She spoke with Innovation Leader recently about how she seeks out the “hidden innovators” who may be developing relevant technologies, but aren’t active in your industry sector, the “ambassadors” program she launched, and more. Includes slides…

Map: These are the Key Players — and Tensions — Involved in Corporate Innovation

In any organization, there are plenty of stakeholders involved with innovation, and plenty of dynamics that can prevent them from attaining alignment. We wanted to explore those forces — and create a guide to dealing with them thoughtfully. So we partnered with XPLANE, the renowned “visual thinking” firm, to create a map of the corporate innovation ecosystem, along with discussion questions to get you working toward better alignment and more impact. You can download it here…

These are the things that kill innovation initiatives

To arm you with information, we compiled this list, with input from current and former innovation executives, as well as consultants who have watched programs coalesce and (occasionally) disband. Everyone with whom we spoke agreed that the first two reasons are the most commonly-seen “causes of death” for innovation programs.

Role reversal: MIT professor Eric von Hippel looks at the rise of consumers as innovators

Eric von Hippel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an economist who has studied open innovation since the 1980s, explores the phenomenon of consumers as innovators in his new book, “Free Innovation.” In a recent conversation in his office overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge, von Hippel pointed out that there are far more consumers innovating today than there are R&D engineers working for companies.

Webcast replay: What top corporate innovators are doing in 2016

Innovation Leader editor and co-founder Scott Kirsner shares seven examples of how companies like Toyota, Disney, GE, and Amazon are working to innovate better, faster, cheaper — and more collaboratively. The webcast also explores some of the factors that lead to premature death for innovation initiatives.

How Sherwin-Williams uses open innovation to create breakthrough new products

Victoria Scarborough, the Program Director for Sherwin-Williams’ seven-person Global External Innovation Team, defines her team’s mission as identifying outside “technology that would move the innovation needle.” Inside, she explains how they work and shares several slides…

The secret of corporate innovation is …

Here are seven things we see having a big impact inside large organizations, and seven things that set you up for failure.

Excerpt: How attitudes about open innovation have changed at AstraZeneca

Turning colleagues from open innovation skeptics to advocates isn’t easy, but Scott Wilkins told us it has steadily begun to happen over five years of hard work at AstraZeneca, the $25 billion British pharmaceutical firm. Includes short audio excerpt from a recent IL Live call…

Open innovation at $25 billion AstraZeneca: What we’ve learned so far

Scott Wilkins, Enterprise Innovation Director at the British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and his colleague Rob Albert discuss the roots of the open innovation program at AstraZeneca; how they use recognition and financial rewards for people who help them with challenges; how they got legal and compliance leaders on their side; and how they’re shifting the culture at AstraZeneca from feeling like every great breakthrough needs to come from an employee. In Wilkins’ words, the company now stresses that “the patient doesn’t care who solves the problem.” Includes 30 minutes of downloadable audio…

What no one says about politics and culture — and how they impact innovation

“I’ve learned that culture and politics both will have big impacts on the course your innovation program follows. But most people don’t talk about them,” writes Sreten Gajic, a former new ventures executive at Assurant and Coca-Cola. Here’s his advice on how you can build structures that can get innovation to happen in any company.

General Mills VP on getting to the first dollar fast, failure, key metrics

Few companies have as strong a track record when it comes to open innovation and pilot testing as General Mills. In a recent Innovation Leader Live call, Jim Kirkwood, Chief Science and Technology Development Officer, explained how the company “gets to the first dollar fast” with pilot tests. Includes 30 minutes of audio. (Not a subscriber? Get an excerpt here »)

Lightweight engagement: A simpler approach to connecting with the world outside your walls

What’s lightweight? Things that can generate results within six months, with a minimum of funding, internal debate, and approvals. Lightweight is a kayak you can assemble yourself; heavyweight is a cruise liner. Here are some suggested approaches.

General Electric exec shares details, slides on open innovation efforts

While many big companies still utter the words “open innovation” with trepidation, getting bogged down in discussions about who will own what, General Electric has been racing ahead. Dyan Finkhousen, the head of GE’s Open Innovation Center of Excellence, shares what the company has been doing and learning…

General Mills innovation EVP on becoming ‘best big small company’

Peter Erickson, executive vice president of Innovation, Technology, and Quality for General Mills, is focused on a very clear goal: to help the company, with 43,000 emloyees and brands like Cheerios, Nature Valley, and Betty Crocker, become “the best big small food company in the world.” Here’s our exclusive interview on how he’s doing it…

Why GE created the new FirstBuild maker community

GE design executive Lou Lenzi explains how the company’s new co-creation initiative, launched this summer, is allowing GE to “take little bets and do things fast.” Includes video and slides from a recent presentation.

Is this the fate of every employee idea-sourcing initiative?

You launch an innovation initiative and cast a wide net for employee ideas. What happens next? This slide from Thomson Reuters VP Mona Vernon predicts it with startling accuracy.

Chubb global innovation VP: ‘Stop the innovation carnival’

At too many companies, employees interact with the innovation team during sporadic “Innovation Days,” idea challenges, or off-site meetings. Chubb global innovation VP Gerry Myers explains how the insurer created a “social layer” for innovation and collaboration, to help weave innovation into employees’ daily activity. Includes slides.

General Mills shares learnings, pitfalls on open innovation

Mike Helser, head of the General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network, shares what the $17.8 billion consumer packaged goods company has learned from its open innovation experiences. We’ve got slides, steps for porting his model, and details on his “X-Squad.”

Creating a disrupter ecosystem: How Athenahealth did it

With an initiative dubbed “More Disruption Please,” CEO Jonathan Bush decided to give other companies access to his customer base, inviting them to integrate into his cloud-based platform for helping doctors manage their practices. Eight hundred prospective partners raised their hands.

What Philips wants from open innovation and crowdsourcing

Philips North America chairman Greg Sebasky, left, calls it “one of the first attempts by a large company to do open innovation.” The company is dangling $100,000 in prize money, plus mentorship from Philips execs, for new product ideas in healthcare. But before the competition launched, Sebasky had to deal his attorneys.