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Open Innovation Toolbox

Determine Project Structure 

Fundamentally, with an open innovation project the sense of community is at the forefront so that the result is rarely brought about by one individual, however in an ideal case it is brought about as a sum of all the good aspects of individual ideas or comments. In this context, open innovation needs the same coordination and fairness as any other collaboration in a consortium, which is working towards an objective.

Important questions in the project design are:

  • What are the desired contributions from participants?
  • How and by whom is community moderation being performed?
  • How will the winners of a competition selected?
  • What are the assessment criteria?
  • What role do experts play on the platform and what is the basis on which the jury decides?
  • What happens with ideas if the active phase is concluded?

In the project planning, are the different fairness components (interaction fairness, conduct fairness, distribution fairness sufficiently considered?

It is precisely the “voluntary” participation in crowd projects that must never mean that unfair participation condition need be accepted.

Transparency is a must in an open innovation organisation, because open innovation is transparent by definition. To be open to problems and challenges can initially be challenging, however it can also open doors to unexpected solutions. If others know about the problems and gaps then it is easier for them to find solutions that are precisely tailored to them.

In the project planning, it must be ensured that the participation conditions and modalities are determined from the outset and are presented clearly. In doing so, legally polished formulations should be avoided and an appropriate language should be used for the relevant participant circle.

For the course of the project too, there should be sufficient transparency so that all actors know at any time what the current status is and what the next, planned steps are.

Depending on the type of challenges of the innovation initiative, agreed and appropriate remuneration should be defined, e.g. cash prizes, material prizes, placements, presentation of the winner’s name or an invitation to the further development of the idea or cooperation offered in the organisation.

Even visibility within the community is viewed as a type of recognition for the efforts and promotes the attractiveness of the project. Depending on the target group, a career-related payment is more profitable and motivating than simply a cash prize.

Trust and fairness form the basis for open innovation processes. Insofar it is very important for the concrete project planning to have trustworthy partners to hand. For the first project, it is definitely an advantage to include external expertise in the planning. They help in the project planning, the selection of methods and tools, and bring their own experiences.

Vanhaverbeke, W. (2017): “Managing Open Innovation in SME”, Cambridge University Press, 2017

de Beer, J., McCarthy, I., Soliman, A., Treen, E. (2017): “Click here to agree: Managing intellectual property when crowdsourcing solutions”, Business Horizons, Volume 60, Issue 2, March–April 2017, Pages 207-217

Seja, c., Narten, J. (2017): “Creative Communities, Ein Erfolgsinstrument für Innovationen und Kundenbindung”, Springer Gabler, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2017

Gassmann, O. (2013): “Crowdsourcing. Innovationsmanagement mit Schwarmintelligenz. Interaktiv Ideen finden, kollektives Wissen effektiv nutzen. Mit Fallbeispielen und Checklisten.”, Carl Hanser Verlag München.

Donner, M. (2013) “Orientierungsrahmen für die Integration von Open Innovation im Innovationsprozess”, FH Südwestfalen (University of Applied Sciences), Bachelor Dissertation 2013

“Intellectual Property Agreement Guide IPAG”, UNIKO and ncp.ip

Füller, J., (27 June 2012): “Die Gefahren des Crowdsourcing”


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