There are two types of open innovation projects:
1) Open and random – anyone can suggest anything at any time;
2) Set of steps – but not too rigid.
Both should be used without prejudice, and both are low investment with a possible high return.
While open and random projects require companies to simply open up and communicate to customers and external experts, set of steps projects require at least these 3 steps:
Step 1) Define a business objective which results in growth and which you can not reach on your own.
Example: increase of sales in USA market.
Step 2) Promote an open innovation goal related to the objective.
Example: design a new product for USA market.
Step 3) Find experts and customers who can help you reach the goal and partner with them.
Example: Partner with a USA manufacturer who can co-design your new products and include it in their offering.
Based on these 3 steps, open innovation is a marketing & sales project, with some product design. These steps require good understanding of both market opportunities and company limitations. Errors can be poor choice of objective, disconnected and unrealistic open innovation goal, and poor partnership conditions.