Articles & Case Studies by Topic

Open Innovation / Co-Creation

Topic Overview: Open Innovation

Open innovation and co-creation, in our definition, involve spurring collaborations with, or seeking solutions from, people outside your organization. That may include customers, suppliers, independent scientists or inventors, etc.

These approaches typically work best when:

  • You have a specific goal or set of goals in mind.
  • They are well-promoted, sometimes with the help of outside partners like an idea submission platform; in the case of finding customers to work with, promotion can happen with help from the sales and support organization.
  • They are sustained over a period of years, not months.
  • There are tangible economic benefits to partners who choose to work with you, or you are working with them to create a product that better fits their needs.

Two topics closely related to open innovation and co-creation have their own topic pages on Innovation Leader: Working with Startups, and Employee Engagement.

Editor's Picks: Recommended articles on open innovation and co-creation
Innovation Leader Live

Our live conference calls that have focused on open innovation and co-creation:

Downloadable resources shared by our members

Relevant documents from our Resource Center, shared by members:

  • Open Innovation 2.0
    Presentation focuses on how Intel Labs is seeking to create technology that is relevant to society by working with four outside constituencies: government, academia, citizens, and other companies. Includes slide on how company works toward making innovation "predictable, probable and profitable," rather than occasional and project-based.
  • Cambia Grove overview
    Two-page overview of the Cambia Grove, a collaborative space that insurer Cambia Health Solutions is opening in Seattle in 2015 with a vision to "catalyze the development of a vibrant local health care innovation cluster."
  • GE Appliance FirstBuild
    A look at the co-creation strategy known as 1B or "firstbuild" at GE Appliance. Includes idea-filtering processes, product innovation strategies, compensation rewards, and more.
  • Connected Innovation
    Great 26-page overview of General Mills' "Connected Innovation" program, which focuses on collaboration through its Worldwide Innovation Network (G-WIN).
  • How our global external innovation team works
    How the open innovation team at Sherwin-Williams, the paint and coatings giant, scouts new technologies in academia and the startup world; evaluates promising technologies; and forges partnerships.
  • New Approach to Innovation
    Short document that looks at the "next generation" of Open Innovation, contrasting it with prior models and showing a case study.
  • Driving Open Innovation
    How Honda's Silicon Valley Lab is engaging with startups, including providing test vehicles, funding, mentorship, and collaborative workspace.
  • Co-creation lessons learned
    Eight-page report on how the two organizations ran a co-creation project to develop new mobile banking services for the African market, and what they learned from the experience. Written in December 2014.
  • Co-creation methodology graphic
    Printable process graphic that shows the process that Vodafone and Thomson Reuters went through, from discovery to executive commitment to validation, on a recent co-creation project.
All Innovation Leader articles & case studies on open innovation and co-creation:

Forging Partnerships at Bayer’s West Coast Innovation Center

Dr. Chris Haskell discusses how Bayer partners with startups, academic institutions, and other corporates at the company’s West Coast Innovation center.

Master Class Replay: Advice on Ecosystem Development & Co-Creation

Andy Michuda of Sopheon, Shannon Lucas of Ericsson, and Michael Britt of Southern company explore best practices for ecosystem development. Other topics of discussion included: the benefits of co-creation, challenges when co-creating at a large organization, and building successful start-up relationships.

How Revera Senior Living Tackles the Challenges of Aging Collaboratively

Learn how Revera Senior Living approaches innovation in aging internally and externally. From involving residents in the business to running internal idea challenges to partnering with young tech companies, Revera’s team seeks to innovate aging by engaging the full spectrum of the senior living ecosystem.

Designing the Supply Chain of the Future at Georgia-Pacific’s Point A Center

Complex supply chains have become an inevitable reality of modern business. No matter the industry, companies face greater pressure to get products to customers faster — with increased visibility and sustainability. Georgia-Pacific’s Point A Center for Supply Chain Innovation launches collaborative pilots between innovators from different companies to tackle these challenges. Program Director Mary Kate Love discusses barriers to supply chain efficiency, Point A’s innovation process, and creating a safe environment for collaboration.

Cisco’s Model for a Bootcamp that Brings Multiple Companies Together to Innovate

Cisco executive Kate O’Keeffe explains the format of the company’s 48-hour “living lab” program, which brings together representatives of multiple companies to explore an opportunity area together. So far, these living labs have led to two startups, seven patent applications, and over 20 internal growth initiatives. In an interview with Innovation Leader, O’Keeffe discussed CHILL’s founding, the structure of the two-daylong journey, and the importance of getting senior leaders into the room.

Live Call Replay: Finding the Right Mix of Internal and External Innovation

Finding the right balance between internal and external innovation can be difficult. Rob Martens of Dublin-based home security company, Allegion, discussed how his company uses venture capital to balances internal and external innovation. Elliot Parker of the venture firm High Alpha also shared external innovation success stories.

Live Call Replay: Kate O’Keefe on Building an Innovation Bootcamp with Impact

Cisco’s Hyper Innovation Living Lab, 48-hour innovation bootcamp, has led to two startups, seven patent applications, and over 20 internal growth initiatives so far. Lab founder Kate O’Keeffe discussed how CHILL was developed, the importance of massive inclusion, and advice on how to improve idea challenges. Includes one hour of downloadable audio…

Innovation and Blurring Sectors: Where Will You Blur the Lines in 2019?

Contributing columnist Lindsay Angelo predicts that in 2019, the blurring of sectors will gain steam. She says we’ll see more sectors colliding and combining to create something bigger and more impactful than each could do on its own. Think co-working spaces meet retail, art meets yoga, burgers meet shoes. Where will you blur the lines in 2019?

Live Call Replay: The Right (and Wrong) Ways for Corporates to Engage with Accelerators

Accelerators can help your company get insight into that latest innovations in your field. However, forming a collaborative working relationship is essential. Pano Anthos, managing partner of New York-based retail accelerator XRC Labs, shared best practices for working with accelerators in our most recent live call. Topics included what causes innovation to fail inside of large organizations, the benefits of working with accelerator, and the hallmarks of an innovative culture.

Master Class Replay: Successful Collaboration and Partnerships with Outside Teams

In our most recent Master Class, Bob Klein from our strategic partner, Digital Scientists, explained how best to partner with outside teams, and as well as some of the risks involved. The webcast includes an exploration four different types of partnerships: startup collaborations, staff augmentations, teams for hire, and collaborative teams. The full one-hour webcast replay is inside, along with downloadable slides…

How Platform is Changing What it Means to be a Mall

With more purchases shifting over to e-commerce daily, the retail apocalypse is proving to be more than just media hype about the death of malls and the decline of the independent storefront. So why would two entrepreneurs choose this moment to build a new outdoor shopping center on a ruins of a car dealership in southern California? Despite the dire forecasts, Joseph Miller and his partner, David Fishbein, set out in 2013 to create something that was anything but mall-like. Take a look at Platform inside…

Video: How Big Companies are Using Indiegogo Enterprise

How can companies find out what customers actually want? Indiegogo Enterprise allows brands to test products with consumers and get their feedback on the experience. Gwen Nguyen, vice president of Indiegogo Enterprise, talks about how companies can harvest the power of crowdsourcing in this video.

Three Tips on Better Stakeholder Engagement from Nestlé’s Innovation Director

According to the director of Nestlé’s open innovation initiative, three strategies were crucial when engaging internal stakeholders and making the new initiative a success. Gerardo Mazzeo explains…

How Bayer is Cultivating an Ecosystem of Consumer Health Startups

More than a century after patenting Aspirin, Bayer is investing in new ecosystem engagement initiatives, like its G4A programs, to discover potential partnerships with players and startups outside its walls.

Healthcare Innovation — Case Studies from the Leading Edge

Healthcare organizations are an extremely challenging and complex environment for innovation. But the need for them to innovate has never been more intense — whether in response to new entrants, changing customer behaviors, cost pressures, or shifting reimbursement paradigms. Our latest in-depth research report explores how the world’s leading healthcare companies have set up new innovation initiatives that are delivering tangible results.

Why Burt’s Bees is Lending Market Knowledge to Natural Products Startups

The Natural Launchpad initiative at Burt’s Bees is an annual grant program for natural products entrepreneurs. Ten startups are selected every year, each receiving a $10,000 grant, mentoring, and access to the other entrepreneurs in the cohort. Here’s a look at how it works…

Comparison Chart: Digital Platforms that Help Corporates Scout Startups

Gearbox, KITE, and Startgrid are among seven digital services that help corporates map the startup landscape. Here’s our comparison chart.

Nestlé Shares Advice from its Global Hunt for Big Ideas

The open innovation initiative HENRi “is all about taking on projects that matter,” explains Gerardo Mazzeo, Global Innovation Director at Nestlé. “That’s the way we want to differentiate HENRi from other open innovation systems that already exist out there.” And HENRi was set up with a clear mechanism for funding an initial pilot test with one of Nestlé’s 8,500 brands. Mazzeo shares more details on the program inside…

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.

Webcast Replay: Best Practices for Scouting Trends and Emerging Technologies

Tied to the release of our research report on Scouting Trends and Emerging Tech, we explored those questions and more in a webcast with Innovation Leader members. The webcast featured Scott Kirsner, Innovation Leader’s Editor and Co-Founder, and Kyle Nel, the former Executive Director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. Nel discussed how Lowe’s set up its global network of innovation labs; used storytelling (and a comic book!) to get executives bought in to the vision of the labs; and worked with startups and other outside entities to build prototypes and test them in stores.

How David Lee is Bringing New Innovation Energy and Programs to $60B UPS

As part of our IL Live series of conference calls, we recently spoke with David Lee, UPS’s Vice President of Innovation. Lee also oversees the Strategic Enterprise Fund, UPS’ corporate investing arm. “My personal view on strategy and innovation,” Lee says, “is that an innovation strategy needs to be about pathways and mechanisms and partners and channels. It is less about, ‘What should you be doing,’ because in some ways the market, your customers, and your executive leadership can tell you that.” More inside…

Nilofer Merchant: 30 Percent Weird is a Good Target

We sat down with the author and former Apple exec Nilofer Merchant to talk about why corporate cultures can be so hostile to ideas that are a bit off-kilter — or come from people who don’t act like or look like authoritative experts in their field. The conversation began by talking about how large companies can be nimble and open to employee ideas if everyone is told they have to fit in and act like everyone else. Highlights of our interview inside, plus video…

Nokia Blends Sci-Fi and Reality to Help Envision the Future

At the Finnish communications and IT company, there are essentially two kinds of scouting that take place: scouting related to mobile networks and how they’re used, and everything else. Leslie Shannon focuses on the “everything else.” She explains how science fiction can be an important bellwether of what technologies will take off.

Uber Isn’t Joking About Flying Cars

Uber’s Elevate initiative aims to launch a new fleet of electric aircraft that would carry a pilot and up to four passengers. And the company plans to begin its first Elevate test flights in 2020 in places like Dubai, Los Angeles, and Dallas, and be fully operational by 2023. We talk to two of the NASA veterans overseeing the project.

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…

Video: Autodesk’s Rick Rundell on Getting an Innovation Program Started

Autodesk Technology & Innovation Strategist Rick Rundell talks about starting an innovation initiative at the software company.

Inside the ‘Near-Future Sensing Team’ at UNICEF

As part of the United Nations, UNICEF works to provide resources to the world’s most marginalized children. The organization was started 70 years ago, and now employs 12,000 people in 190 countries. But it wasn’t until 2007 when Fabian and Erica Kochi, who is now in charge of private sector partnerships at UNICEF, founded the organization’s Innovation Unit. We spoke with Fabian about innovation at UNICEF and how the venture fund operates.

Former Lululemon Strategy Manager on Changing Consumer Motivations and Retail Disruption

“I think retail is going through a really interesting time right now,” Lindsay Angelo said in a recent conversation. “Certainly as a more established brand, there are a lot of headwinds out there. But think about how you can take advantage of that turbulence internally.” Angelo shares her take, and several slides…

Inside J&J’s New Initiative to ‘Intercept’ Diseases

The pharmaceutical industry typically develops new drugs to help manage diseases.  But a new project inside Johnson & Johnson posits a different model: what if you could identify people at risk of developing a disease, and create products to stave it off? Ben Wiegand, head of the Disease Interception Accelerator, explains what they’re up to.

How GE Fuse is Prototyping New Solutions, with Help from an Online Community

“The concept [of Fuse] is around sourcing different problems from GE customers and then working with an online community to solve those problems,” says Amelia Gandara, the Community Leader for GE Fuse. Here’s how they do it…

Goodyear’s Chris Varley on How Tech Scouting Work Should Tie in to the Business

Part of Varley’s job is “supporting and encouraging managers tasked with developing ‘something new’ on a five- or ten-year roadmap to think differently, and consider that it may actually be faster and less risky for them to take a chance on working with a startup on the outside than trying to build everything from scratch in the lab.” Here’s his advice on bringing new ideas into a $15 billion company…

Harvard Business School Prof Karim Lakhani on Overcoming Resistance to Crowdsourcing

On a recent Innovation Leader Live call, Karim Lakhani discussed some of the cultural reasons people resist seeking solutions from the crowd; ways that crowdsourcing competitions can fail; whether to run competitions on your own or work with an existing crowdsourcing platform; and appropriate incentives. Here’s the complete audio along with an edited transcript…

Coca-Cola shutters its Founders initiative, which backed fledgling startups

Coca-Cola has shut down its Founders program, which sought to work with entrepreneurs and invest in startups that would benefit the beverage giant in some way. The initiative was launched in 2013, and since then has backed eight companies. One possible cause? A back-to-basics focus on the core business.

InsurTech: Execs from AIG and John Hancock talk startups, sensors, more

How can insurance companies innovate effectively — in the face of strict regulatory oversight, customer concerns about privacy, and decades of ingrained thinking about “the way things are done”? Execs from AIG and John Hancock discussed those issues at a recent event. Includes profiles of startups working in the insurance sector.

Moonshots, roof shots, and failing forward: Google and XPRIZE execs on enabling big breakthroughs

“We distinguish between ‘roof shots’ and moonshots,” says Google X executive Hans Peter Brøndmo. “You could say, ‘If I wanted to get up on the roof of this building, I could come up with a really innovative solution. I might actually technically, be closer to the moon, but I didn’t do anything to get to the moon.’ More insights from Brøndmo and XPRIZE CEO Marcus Shingles inside, from a session held at the inaugural Harvest Summit…

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.

At Honda’s Silicon Valley Lab, riding shotgun with Google, Apple, Visa, and others

While it began life as an R&D outpost in 2000, and later added a venture capital team, Honda’s Silicon Valley site is now a full-fledged innovation hub for the company, overseeing a range of important partnerships and startup interactions. Nick Sugimoto explains how it’s set up.

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 the labs group at publisher Houghton Mifflin is building an ecosystem of developers and partners

Can Houghton Mifflin Harcourt remake itself into a digital platform, distributing content, software, and cloud-based services to schools? That’s a big focus at HMH Labs, a group created in 2014. Labs chief Claudia Reuter explains how she has been building relationships with startups and software developers.

How industrial giant ThyssenKrupp is remaking R&D for the era of the smart city

“The customer is one of the biggest innovation opportunities there is,” says Patrick Bass, CEO of the North American business for ThyssenKrupp. Bass’ vision of the future of R&D includes not just customers, but academic collaborations, gathering data from Internet-connected products, and innovating differently in different parts of the world.

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.

‘Pitch, Pilot, Partner’: How the Unilever Foundry works with startups

Consumer packaged goods giant Unilever has launched more than 90 pilots with 90 different startups, and subsequently decided to scale about half of those. Jeremy Basset of Unilever Foundry explains how and why they’re doing it…

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…

Early data: Innovation budgets, CEO support, metrics, and risk tolerance

In February, we posted a survey designed to serve as a quick assessment of the maturity of corporate innovation programs — and how well they are being accepted by the culture. We’re sharing some early results from it — on topics like training, CEO support, co-creation, and business unit relationships.

Schneider Electric exec: Quick decision-making is key in Silicon Valley

It has been just two years since the French multinational Schneider Electric set up an innovation center in Silicon Valley. But already, the outpost is helping the $30 billion company experiment with new services and business models. We talk to innovation VP Paul Campbell about its structure and one of the first projects…

Examples: How companies are using Indiegogo to assess consumer demand

Indiegogo SVP Jerry Needel explains how companies like GE and Hasbro have been using crowdfunding as a way to gauge consumer demand for new products — or engage collaborators in new ways. Needel also shares his advice. “We always counsel people to be authentic: who they are, what they’re trying to accomplish, and where they’re coming from,” he says.

Airbus exec on co-innovation and seizing opportunities outside the airplane

Markus Durstewitz, head of innovation methods and tools for Airbus Group, talks about how the $67 billion manufacturer is working with suppliers, passengers, and pilots to make air travel more efficient. Includes slides…

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.

Innovation Labs Report: What’s Inside

What exactly is an innovation lab? Ask ten companies, and you’ll get ten different answers. For our 53-page report on innovation labs, we talked to more than 20 executives at companies like Walmart, Home Depot, IKEA, Fidelity Investments, Royal Dutch Shell, MasterCard, Target, and others.

Intel Labs exec on collaborations driving company’s Internet of Things strategy

Martin Curley, Director of Intel Labs Europe, shares strategy slides on how an “Open Innovation 2.0” approach is helping Intel work with customers to prototype and deploy Internet of Things technologies.

Humana’s Chief Innovation Officer: ‘Co-creation is the new way’

Chris Kay of Humana discusses how the $48 billion health insurer is collaborating and co-creating with startups in the healthcare industry, and outlines his process for going from ideation to market.

Assessment: How Well Developed is Your Corporate Innovation Strategy?

Developed by Innovation Leader’s Editorial team, with input from corporate innovation executives, this assessment will help you evaluate the current maturity of your organization’s innovation strategy.

Advice on running a global startup competition from Spanish bank BBVA

If you’re considering a competition or challenge to help your company get to know startups in your industry, read this advice from Scarlet Sieber of BBVA, the Spanish banking giant. Sieber explains how to attract the best startups and make sure business unit leaders are ready to work with them. Includes slides and audio…

Why tools giant Stanley formed a joint venture to tackle big data and IoT

Two key execs at Stanley Black and Decker and joint venture View Technologies explain a long-term bet on the growth of big data and the Internet of Things, and a concrete business proposition designed to work in the near-term.

How new CVS digital lab proves value, collaborates with business units

Chief Digital Officer Brian Tilzer discusses why the $37 billion retail and healthcare giant set up its new Digital Innovation Lab in Boston; how it connects with teams at CVS’ Rhode Island headquarters; and his thoughts on mobile payments, videoconferencing and collaboration, and in-store Bluetooth Beacon technology. Includes 40 minutes of audio from our recent Field Study visit…

Six innovation agenda items for 2016

How are you going to make change and deliver results in 2016? Whether you work in an innovation group, new product development, strategy, or R&D, we believe that these issues deserve a place on your agenda for the year ahead.

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 »)

How GE is using crowdfunding site to test demand for new products

The story of the Opal ice maker is an early case study of how a large organization leveraged crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to get a new concept in front of consumers fast.

Gap exec on innovation training, co-creation, customer insights

Gap Inc.’s Dean of Global Innovation talks about creativity, co-creation, the Mindspark training initiative,  and the importance of solving small problems first. Includes slides and 30 minutes of audio from a recent call.

How appliance-maker Jarden is testing new business models

Our October Innovation Leader Live call guest was Asoka Veeravagu, VP of Business Development for Transformational Innovation at Jarden Consumer Solutions. The Boca Raton, Fla. company owns brands like Mr. Coffee, Aerobed, and Sunbeam.

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.

Q&A: A guidebook to successful hackathons

“I see you’ve written a lot about hackathons, and have some great case studies from companies on how they run theirs. But I wonder if you have a kind of ‘guidebook’ or ‘top 10’ list of things to do to (a) get started; and (b) succeed.”

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…

Mondelez shares new approach to pilot testing with startups, retailers

Kim Yansen of Mondelez (think Chips Ahoy and Trident gum) talks with Innovation Leader about latest iteration of the $34 billion food company’s Shopper Futures program; the risks involved in working with startups; and the ways that consumers’ changing habits are forcing companies to be more nimble and forward-looking.

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…

Q&A: Expanding crowdsourcing without getting overwhelmed

We currently hold an annual crowdsourcing event for the technical services division of our company. This year, we want to expand the event outside of tech services, but I’m not sure how people could watch even more ideas to vote on them.  How have others addressed this challenge?

How NTT Data has diversified innovation with global workshops

In 2014, Tokyo-based NTT Data held 11 workshops in cities like Phoenix, Toronto, Barcelona, and Beijing. This year, the IT services giant is planning another dozen, with a specific focus on disruptive digital innovations, according to Naureen Meraj, senior global director of digital engagement and social gamification for the company. She shares the inclusive approach they developed, along with several slides.

NBCUniversal shares its hit hackathon formula

On the heels of recent hackathons in New York, Orlando, and London, NBCUniversal’s chief technology officer and chief information officer share their advice on topics like how to link hackathons with business unit objectives.

Innovate like a venture capitalist: What corporate leaders can learn

Venture capitalists are the world’s experts at creating growth businesses: think Netflix, Facebook, or Dropbox. Their methods hold a trove of lessons for how corporate managers can create an environment that fosters new sources of growth. Includes slides…

Why don’t more companies run open challenges to solve problems? is only the latest company to expose a problem it is grappling with and ask for outside help. Its Picking Challenge, wrapping up this month, invites participants to design robots and accompanying control software that can grab products from a shelf and place them into a box. Companies like Netflix, Philips, and GE have run similar challenges in recent years. But why aren’t we seeing many other Fortune 500 companies follow suit?

Frugal innovation: Six principles and a case study from the new book

The authors of the new book “Frugal Innovation: share with Innovation Leader their six principles of frugal innovation, and an example from the book about how Kingfisher plc, the largest home improvement retailer in Europe, is working to move the needle on one of those principles.

Co-creation: Vodafone, Thomson Reuters share lessons learned

How can two companies productively innovate together to address an opportunity that matters to them both? Shannon Lucas of Vodafone Global Enterprise and Saidah Nash Carter of Thomson Reuters share a document that addresses that question.

Changing culture at French insurer BNP Paribas Cardif

Héloïse Lauret, Head of Innovation at BNP Paribas Cardif, discusses the three main culture-change initiatives the French insurance firm has launched — and the importance of building trust.

Government exec on quick hits and innovating procurement

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ first Government Innovation Officer talks about the importance of quick hits; implementing a crowdsourcing initiative; and sponsoring competitions to diversify the pool of new vendors available to state government. Includes video and an annual report…

Reebok VP Paul Litchfield on the inherent risks of innovation

Longtime Reebok executive Paul Litchfield discusses how he and his team work within the organization; the challenges of making innovation happen within a traditional annual planning cycle; experiments with wearable technologies; and why failure is unavoidable for innovation leaders. “Our job is actually to fail,” says Litchfield. Includes slides and 30-minute video…

Hospital innovation exec talks disruption, events, engagement

Audio and notes from our recent call with Lesley Solomon, who has overseen the launch of the Innovation Hub at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Brigham & Women’s has 1300 researchers and 1700 clinicians, along with about $650 million in annual funding. Solomon talked with IL members about running hackathons; her steering committee; and how she gets busy doctors, nurses, and researchers engaged with innovation initiatives, among other things…

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.

Lessons from AGCO: Successful university collaborations

Ravi Godbole, a research and engineering executive at the $10.8 billion agricultural equipment manufacturer, explains how strong university relationships fit into AGCO’s organic growth strategy — and discusses the pitfalls you should avoid.

How DuPont’s innovation centers bring it closer to customers

Karen Weining, Global Innovation Excellence Leader at DuPont, explains how the pioneering materials company has been collaborating with customers at its network of 12 innovation centers around the world.

Advice on opening up to innovation from GE’s chief marketing officer

Beth Comstock talks about how the $146 billion behemoth is pursuing speed and growth through partnerships: investing in startups, crowdsourcing solutions, inviting inventors to use selected patents to create new products, and more. “You have to recognize that no matter how good you are, you don’t have all the answers,” Comstock says. Here’s our exclusive interview…

Why Lockheed Martin bet big on large-scale 3D printing; with video

Execs at $45 billion Lockheed Martin are demonstrating that 3D printing isn’t just for prototypes — they’re already producing parts for real-world projects like NASA’s Juno spacecraft, now on its way to Jupiter. Lockheed’s Steve Betza lays out the benefits…and shares a video.

How open innovation led Clorox to a new product line

Clorox’s R&D team used an intensive open innovation approach that brought together consumers, industry experts, and retailers to explore how the company could address the needs of at-home caregivers taking care of an elderly relative. Here’s how the approach led to the Clorox Care Concepts product line…

From Disney: Consumer insights and the Seven Dwarfs

Director of Consumer Insight Karen Kricorian explains how Disney’s theme parks and resorts group approaches research. “When you think you know something,” she says, “that’s when you need to shake up your thinking.”

12 Slide Presentations from Big Company Innovation Executives

These dozen slide presentations offer insights into innovation strategy at organizations like NASA, Alaska Airlines, Nike, and Clorox. At left is an image from Bennett Blank’s presentation on rapid experimentation at Intuit.

10 innovation insights from Textron’s Scorpion jet program

Textron set an audacious goal: Get a new military plane from concept to the runway in less than two years, to fill what the company saw as a major market gap. Execs Bill Anderson and Dale Tutt, who led the Scorpion project, shared what they learned on the journey from blueprint to the blue yonder.

What we learned running our hospital’s first hackathon

Innovation exec Lesley Solomon explains how Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston set up its first hackathon, what the event achieved for the organization, and what they will do differently next time around.

Working with Startups: The Innovation Leader report

Innovation Leader’s Q1 “Peer to Peer” report explores the ways that leading companies are tracking, investing in, and partnering with entrepreneurs and disruptive startups in their industries. The report includes examples and case studies from Time Warner, Constant Contact, GE Appliances, Google Ventures, and Qualcomm, among others.

Inside Xerox’s ‘Dreaming Sessions’ with customers

The document and services giant felt that R&D needed to be better-connected to customer needs. The result was the “Dreaming Session,” which brings researchers together with Xerox’s customers to think about high-potential applications for new technologies. Includes slides and audio from Sophie Vandebroek, president of the Xerox Innovation Group.

Tracking the Corporate-Supported Startup Accelerators

Major players like Disney, Airbus, and Deutsche Telekom have all launched their own accelerator programs to attract entrepreneurs working on ideas related to their businesses. But before going that far, you’ll probably want to explore the low-risk opportunity to have your employees serve as mentors for existing programs, and attend demo days.

What you can learn from GE on connecting with entrepreneurs

GE hunts for breakthrough ideas by engaging with startups and academic researchers in new ways. Says exec Venkat Venkatakrishnan, “Our challenge has become, how can I find a technology that I will be the first to apply, not, what do I invent tomorrow?” Here’s a look at how Vankatakrishnan’s group held a first-of-its-kind event last fall.