7 steps of open innovation company transformation

7steps

A company can be seen as an innovation manufacturer which buys and sells innovation, making open innovation a natural next step in growth, equal to sales. Therefore all companies should become open innovation companies in order to compete in buying innovation, just as they compete in selling it. Transforming a company into an open innovation company should be seamless. We recommend our 7 steps approach:

1) Accept
Open innovation is understood and accepted by all team members. This requires training and dialog.

2) Rebrand
Company communicates that it is not only as a seller but also as a buyer of innovation. This is a necessary and delicate step, unique to each company.

3) Tool up
Open innovation requires a platform. We recommend our openinnovation.me, but any platform is good. Platform needs to connect all key team members with customers.

4) Educate
Customers are educated in how the company buys and uses open innovation. Open innovation promotion is constant and consistent, just like sales.

5) Listen
Once everything is set up and customers are informed it is time to listen. Time and attention are dedicated to listening to external innovators.

6) Answer
Even if not all innovation suggestions are accepted, they should all be answered and many should be rewarded for the effort.

7) Make
This is the final goal of open innovation – making better products thanks to external suggestions.

 

We can carefully guide companies through the 7 step open innovation transformation. Each company is unique. To start email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

5 best ideas from our "Innovate with 8 billion people" open talk

5 ideas

We had a nice open chat this Wednesday. Here are the 5 best ideas exchanged:

Next natural step
Open innovation is a natural progress of innovation development. All innovation starts with individual innovators, then grows into innovation and R&D teams, and finally opens up to include partners, customers, and external experts.

Equal to sales
Every market will be an open innovation market and every company will be an open innovation company. Listening to customers is equally important as selling to them.

Holistic approach
Open innovation can not be adopted as an isolated side project, but as a key element of the company culture.

Platforms are necessary
Companies feel customer need for more openness, but need digital tools to facilitate it.

Incremental is better
Open innovation is often blocked by big expectations and big projects. Our method of doing smaller projects with smaller rewards creates more activity and education.

Our consulting helps companies adopt open innovation with a unique and tested method. We will be discussing this method in coming posts. For more email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

Innovate with 8 billion people open Zoom talk notes

8 billion people

At 12:00 CET on Wednesday 23 November Andrea and Nikola will host an innovate with 8 billion people open Zoom talk. Everyone is welcome to join and participate in the talk.

To be better prepared download and read PDF notes for the open talk (they will slightly change):

DOWNLOAD PDF NOTES

To join the open Zoom talk click here when the time comes:

JOIN OPEN ZOOM TALK

Innovate with 8 billion people - join our open Zoom talk on Wed 23 Nov

8 billion people

Today world population reached 8 billion people. Many of us were born in a world with a population of only 4 billion. We were educated by parents born in a world of a bit more than 2 billion.

How does this affect innovation, product design, business strategy, marketing, sales, SMBs?

In a world which keeps getting bigger, our customers are feeling smaller and more excluded. All the today’s challenges are too big for them – climate crisis, globalization, digitalization. Customers feel overwhelmed, stressed, and are passive. They do not feel in control.

Openness and open innovation are desperately needed remedy to motivate customers to make decisions faster. We must include them and shake them out of their passive routine. This is best done by asking them to participate through open activities. The age of them listening to brands is over. The age of them being part of brands is starting. This will bring back the world under their control and ownership.

We will host an open Zoom talk at 12:00 CET on Wednesday 23 November to discuss these topics. Feel free to just jump in. We planned for 30 mins but if it takes more we will keep going. Let’s discuss openly and see where it takes us. Anyone is welcome!

When the time comes just click here:

JOIN OPEN ZOOM TALK

Passcode: 123
Meeting ID: 814 0839 9376

See you then :)

4 ways to promote your opportunities?

open innovation opportunity promotion

Once your opportunities are live, it is necessary to promote them so end-users of your products get interested and add innovations. Some brands are well known so minimal promotion on their websites, newsletter, and social media should get substantial results.

However, many brands make well respected products while they remain almost unknown. In such cases some more promotion is needed. We recommend these 4 steps:

1. Select a narrow group of end-users you can target
Do not try to reach everyone in the world immediately. First succeed with 5-10 local end-users and grow from there. Be patient and work in smaller steps.

2. Organize an in-person workshop
Do not rely only on digital, especially if your products are physical (tools for example) and your end-users do not know your brand well. Go to the end-users and talk to them in person in their workplace, and motivate them with your enthusiasm.

3. Leave posters in their workplace
Posters should clearly ask them to add innovations to your openinnovation.me opportunities. Also mention the reward. Include QR codes to your opportunity and place them in most visited workplace area.

4. Add stickers to your products
Adding a sticker directly to your product is the most powerful way of including end-users in innovation. It shows real dedication. Include QR code to your opportunity or product. While a sticker with a QR code is not the most beautiful addition to product design aesthetics, it does add enormous relationship value (designers can surely find a clever way to add it).

For help with promotion email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

Why do we use free text for innovation suggestions?

form vs free text

Open innovation is the most important thing a company can do – it combines innovation and marketing into one. And marketing always relied on market research – asking customers what they want through polls, interviews, focus groups. But market research was always limited by technology and company culture.

Research was limited by selection of who is asked, when they are asked, where they are asked, and what they are asked. Asking a specific person specific questions in a specific place at a specific time is greatly limiting feedback.

Truly open feedback allows everyone to say whatever they want, where they want, and when they want. No selections, no locations, no time limits, and no premade multiple choices.

This is why in openinnovation.me add innovation form we use free text input because we believe end-users should be free to write whatever they like and their expression should not be limited. If any multiple choices are present they can only be an addition, a guideline, and not the main form of expression.

We feel that limiting end-user suggestions with specific questions and deadlines will lower the trust, expression, and overall benefit of open innovation – this is why we will always rely on free text input.

To start using openinnovation.me email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

openinnovation.me for sustainability

open innovation sustainability

There are two ways a brand can approach sustainability:

1) Promoting their sustainability projects without being open for cooperation, assuming they can do everything alone or with few selected partners,

2) Being open and seeking help from everyone, understanding the complexity of sustainability.

There is no sustainability problem which can be solved in a closed manner. Sustainability is not divided by brands, teams, countries. It is an issue which involves everything and everyone on the planet. It requires cooperation and openness we have never seen before.

We suggest to all brands to make as many open innovation opportunities for sustainability innovation – internally, with partners, externally. Every brand should communicate that they are willing to listen to any idea, any suggestion. Improvements in efficiency from talks with employees, partners, and end-users add up and move the sustainability forward.

Being open is not about working with selected partners on selected projects. Sustainability requires a radical change in what it means to be an open brand. It requires openness towards everyone and in all topics. This is the only way blocks can be removed and progress accelerated.

openinnovation.me offers unlimited number of opportunities so you can add as many as needed. We will help you design and promote your sustainability opportunities. We will guide you through the learning process towards real results. But it is up to you to start today.

Sustainability is not something any of us can do alone.

To start email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

openinnovation.me is for product innovation

product open innovation

Based on feedback from our clients, we decided to focus openinnovation.me only on product innovation.

We have replaced previous innovation types (my idea, product, project, trend, and problem) with new ones: improvement suggestion, new use suggestion, new product suggestion. These innovation types are not obligatory and serve as a guideline. Innovators will be able to add innovations without selecting a type. This allows them to write more freely but if they need a direction they can use these types.

Additionally open brands will be able to add text description to their products.

These changes are now live on add innovation form, innovation list, innovation page, and product page. Corresponding changes are made in APPS. Open brands can start adding product descriptions.

Our aim is to make it easier for end-users to add product focused innovations, helping brands make better products. After careful evaluations in the past months we are confident these changes will make the communication between product end-users and product designers more effective. We will continue to evaluate and improve.

For help or more information email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

New opportunity in sustainable construction by Geoplast

We are happy to announce a new opportunity in sustainable construction. Opportunity is added by an Italian manufacturer Geoplast. Geoplast has invented many revolutionary products providing rapid sustainable solutions for construction. Their innovations reduce non-sustainable construction materials such as wood and concrete, and increase of recycled plastics.

Geoplast is starting with 5 rewards each 200 EUR. They are seeking innovation suggestions on how to further improve the use of their products in construction sites. This opportunity targets construction workers and managers, but is open to anyone with construction experience and understanding.

Add innovation to this opportunity here (in Italian)

Incremental improvements like this will change construction to more sustainable solutions. This is your opportunity to be part of the change.

If you need help adding innovation to this opportunity email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

Openness consulting makes business more humane

consulting

Openness is our main mission. We promote openness by helping companies to include customers, end-users, and other external experts in their decisions. Our platform openinnovation.me focuses on opening up product innovation for SMBs. Our consulting approach is wider in helping companies be more open to provide more value to customers.

Openness can be seen as an opposite trend to centralization and automation but we do not see it that way. The bigger the influence of a company the more it will benefit from end-users and customer feedback. The more influential the algorithms are, the more value they will provide with direct feedback. Openness is not a zero-sum addition to current processes – it is an upgrade, an improvement. Openness increases humanity, empathy, trust, transparency, and satisfaction for both management and end-users.

Our consulting can improve:
Marketing & brand strategy – including end-users feedback and increasing trust,
Sales – making it more of a dialog,
Product design & innovation – through open innovation,
Algorithm design – adding humanity with customer and end-user knowledge (not data),
Teamwork – adding openness internally improves job satisfaction.

Email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me to discuss how openness consulting can help your business.

Open call - Fiam, Geoplast, Lovato, Linea Flesh are offering 40 new innovation rewards

open call

Brands on openinnovation.me can reward any innovation sent to them. User is eligible for a reward by simply adding a brand to their innovation. No opportunity is needed. This is an Innovation rewards feature.

Fiam, Geoplast, Lovato, and Linea Flesh have started using Innovation rewards and are offering each 10 rewards of 50 EUR. This is a total of 40 rewards and 2,000 EUR. They are interested to learn from their employees, partners, and end-users of their products – especially construction workers, factory workers, electricians, installers.

To add an innovation click on brands below to open their profiles and then click “add innovation” button. If you have any problems email support@openinnovation.me and we will reply quickly.

 

Fiam
Fiam is always interested to hear from end-users of their tools.

 

Geoplast
Geoplast is interested in innovations in sustainable construction.

 

Lovato
Lovato is dedicated to energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings.

 

Linea Flesh
Linea Flesh is looking for innovations related to biomedical and pharma industries.

Better informed product design is more successful

open design

Being open is to collect more information, to be better informed. The more informed product design is, the better product it will make. Openness does not change the role of a designer – designers must always make informed design decisions. Openness means that the market is more complex and competitive, and designers must collect more information.

Designers have always looked for new ways to inform their work. What changed now is that it is not enough to use established research methods such as polling, interviews, focus groups. They are limiting through choice of questions, participants, and deadlines. Since end-users now have constant access to internet and want less controlled conversations these research methods can be seen as restricting.

Contemporary open design is moving towards digital, always accessible, direct without middlemen, controlled by end-users, and transparent. Any restriction of this communication results in less information and potentially poorer products. While time and focus of designers and end-users is hard to control, giving them access to easy-to-use direct tech solution offers immediate improvement.

To use openinnovation.me to collect end-user feedback in product design email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

5 examples how real and ideal product use differ

product innovation

Here are 5 examples how end-users can contribute breaking the barrier between ideal product and real product use with openinnovation.me:

Safety
Product safety is hard to evaluate in the internal design process. The actual end-users of products, people who use the products daily for months or years, are the biggest experts when it comes to their risk of injury.
Example: factory workers innovating factory tools to reduce injury and stress.

Ergonomy
End-users who use the product often and over long periods of time have much more knowledge about the product ergonomy than internal design teams. Internal design teams can not dedicate so much time to such level of testing and often sacrifice ergonomy for design standards.
Example: office workers innovating office furniture to increase computer work comfort.

Inclusivity
End-users with non-standard body types and health conditions can offer valuable feedback to reduce their discomfort.
Example: hospital patients innovating care processes to reduce patient stress.

Integration
In reality products are used in complex environments as end-users integrate many products in their unique experience. Advertising can suggest ideal environments for products, but this is always far from reality.
Example: drivers innovating car accessories to reduce lower back pain on long drives.

Performance
Product performance is often measured by standardized metrics by elite performers. Actual product performance reality is that it is far more complex and often subjective.
Example: weekend cyclists innovating bicycles to adjust them to more comfort and away from elite performance standards.

To start an openinnovation.me project for your product email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

How to use openinnovation.me for marketing

open innovation marketing

openinnovation.me is great for innovation, but it can also be a powerful tool for marketing.

Regular marketing channels are less and less supportive of innovation. Retail, advertising, and PR prefer to stick to proven things that generate low risk revenue. For them innovation is always questionable because it is more difficult to understand and adopt. This leaves companies that innovate without the necessary support.

But companies can use openinnovation.me to target specific customers, also in tens of thousands, invite them to submit innovations, and reward them. This can be similar to offering coupons or discounts, only that it requires customers to add an innovation.

If 20,000 customers are invited using openinnovation.me, most likely most of them will show interest and remember the product and brand because of the novelty and the reward. openinnovation.me is not a known channel which they got used to ignoring.

And if a brand rewards 1,000 customers 50 EUR each, this is still a cost of only 50,000 EUR for a campaign which reached tens of thousands and had very high engagement with 1,000. While this performance might not work for non-innovative consumer products, it can be very powerful with more complex, expensive, and innovative products, especially in B2B.

To learn more how openinnovation.me can be used in marketing email Andrea Toniolo at andrea@openinnovation.me.

Geoplast vs Peri - without open innovation customers lose

geoplast peri geopanel

Geoplast, our client, is a medium size highly innovative Italian company focused on making construction sustainable. Peri is a multinational leader in the construction industry. Geoplast has a limited access to the market due to its size, while Peri has, in lack of a better word, unlimited access to the global market.

In 2005 Geoplast created the first successful recycled plastic formwork – Geopanel. Recycled plastic formwork was a holy grail for the construction industry – an innovation which must happen and the only question was when and by whom. Many tried to replace unpractical wood and metal formworks with recycled plastic, but failed. Geoplast did it.

The world desperately needed to replace wood and metal formworks with recycled plastic because of sustainability, safety, and efficiency. One of the main values of recycled plastic formwork is that they can be reused 10 times more than wooden panels. In spite of this great and obvious objective need, the market did not change. Geoplast gradually increased sales of their Geopanel but all the big formwork producers were quiet and building sites were still full outdated formworks.

A decade later, in 2016, Peri launched their own plastic formwork – Duo. It was a copy of Geopanel. Duo was even awarded for innovation and quickly spread globally. Soon it’s revenue was several hundred times bigger than that of Geopanel, which was available a decade earlier. Geoplast sued Peri and – after 6 years – is still involved in an expensive legal battle preventing Peri to promote Duo.

In this mess, everyone is a loser. Recycled plastic formwork is one of thousands of changes necessary to change construction, and reduce pollution, climate crisis, and other risks. Because a multinational chose not to include external innovation in their profitability, innovation adoption has been blocked for more than 15 years. I can only hope that medical research is not managed in such a way that poor innovation management deprives us access to life saving medicine.

While many companies know how to manage open innovation with licensing, partnerships, joint-ventures, etc, Geoplast vs Peri shows that also many companies are simply unable. Peri chose not to cooperate with Geoplast for a decade, and then simply copied a product causing an additional legal delay, depraving the public of a necessary innovation. Decades ago Nike revolutionized sponsorship contracts by partnering with athletes like Jordan. Some industries and companies are still in the dark ages when it comes to business structures which support innovation.

It is a responsibility of companies – especially multinationals which control the market – to practice open innovation. Their shareholders and owners should accept that not all innovation will come from their own organization. They must know how to profit from external innovation. No company should generate profit by depraving its market of innovation and not all innovation can be created internally.

How to include end-users in your innovation

end-user innovation

It is challenging for product designers to experience their products as end-users. A chef can try their dish, a game developer can play their game, a film director can watch their film, but even in such simple examples product designers do not share the perspective of an end-user.

In more complex engineering products it is easier to design a technical solution because problems are independent of consumers – making a car engine or a water pump more efficient does not depend on consumer impression. However, this is a wrong assumption – such solutions must be installed, used, maintained by people who are in this case end-users.

This is why it is crucial to include end-users in innovation.

With openinnovation.me it is easy to include end-users in innovation: publish an opportunity focusing on a specific use of your product and invite a group of end-users to participate. You can easily explain to them what kind of feedback you need and reward them with cash for their innovation suggestions.

Read about our first case end-user innovation study here.

If you need more help to include end-users in your innovation process email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

5 ways brands can use openinnovation.me

open innovation benefits for brands

openinnovation.me allows brands to give cash rewards to end users of their products for their innovation suggestions. Here are 5 ways brands can use openinnovation.me:

1 More competitive feedback
All brands want to get feedback, but most brands do not want to pay for it. Brands that start rewarding user feedback with cash will have an advantage, and will get the best feedback.

2 Unique innovation approach
No designer can actually imagine how it feels to use a product over and over again. Safety, ergonomy, real environment, integrations, new uses are few product aspects which are best understood by product users. Brands that collect this feedback will have more competitive products.

3 Positive way to offer customer support
Customer support is based on negative experiences because users are motivated only by frustration. With openinnovation.me users are motivated to be creative and innovative. This is a positive relationship which prevents negative experiences.

4 Accelerated training
Winning innovation proves that the user understood the product very well. Adding a winning innovation requires substantial experience and understanding of the product, and is a great way to motivate training. It can be used as part of training or as an independent motivator.

5 Two way customer relationship
Customer relationships are moving towards two-way exchanges more and more. openinnovation.me ads a new channel to the customer relationship which is beneficial for both brands and customers. It is better at building loyalty than discounts, gifts, free trials.

To start using openinnovation.me for your brand email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me.

New feature - Innovation rewards

Goal of openinnovation.me is to help brands and users innovate easier together. This includes brands paying users (innovators) for their innovations (posts). So far only way for brands to pay users was to post an opportunity and reward innovations which respond to it. This meant that users had to focus on what brand defined in that opportunity.

Our new feature – Innovation rewards – allows brands to reward ANY innovation which tags their brand. While Opportunities feature focuses users on a specific need a brand has, Innovation rewards is much more open allowing users to surprise brands. We see this as a great step towards increasing openness and cooperation between brands and users.

If you manage an open brand on openinnovation.me, log in to your OI apps and go here and set number of rewards and amount per reward. This will reflect in your total innovation budget on your brand page.

We also launched our Start page which should make it easier to access opportunities, innovations, brands, and products.

Fiam - our first successful case study

OI CASE STUDY

After two and a half years of development we are happy that we have our first and successful case study – Fiam.

Fiam is an Italian innovator of semi-automation tools and was seeking ergonomy suggestions from end users. Only way to get ergonomy feedback is from people who use their tools daily in real work situations. Fiam published an opportunity, connected with end users, and quickly received innovations. Innovators were successfully paid. The whole process took less than a month and was managed by Andrea Toniolo.

This case study a great example of how openinnovation.me enables innovation on a new level. We allow brands to quickly publish opportunities and enable innovators to easily suggest innovations. And – most importantly – innovators are paid. Before us, open innovation projects were made by large companies and for high level experts. They were slow and expensive. We made open innovation faster, easier, and accessible to everyone.

This is an important step towards making open innovation part of every company in the world.

Thank you to everyone for making this happen!

Learn from The Masters Of Innovation tomorrow at 10:30 CET

masters of innovation

Tomorrow at 10:30 CET we will host an open talk with The Masters Of Innovation – business leaders who successfully manage high rate of innovation in competitive industries:

– Mirco Pegoraro, CEO of Geoplast,
– Nicola Bacchetta, CMO of Fiam,
– Michele Lovato, CEO of Lovato.

This is a great opportunity to ask questions which you can email to Andrea, ask during the live talk, or ask later via comments.

Here are some questions we will discuss:

– How did you decide to make the first product?
– What is the biggest problem you solved with your product?
– How do you discover problems? Your own design intuition, personal experience, research, feedback from customers?
– What are the most important factors in maintaining a high rate of innovation?
– What are the biggest challenges in selling innovative products?
– How relevant is the local Veneto culture for innovation?

Read more about the event here.

REGISTER FOR THE OPEN TALK HERE

Most interesting open brands innovations

Innovations

T-BOX è il 50% più compatto rispetto alle soluzioni standard
Sliding table is an Elmar technical patent, Catas registered and certified for 30,000 opening cycles

Unlike wooden and metal formwork, Geopanel Star can be easily adjusted to any column size and shape by simply turning the handles to lock the panels in place

La macchina termosigillatrice Linea Flesh grazie alle confezioni in polipropilene assicura una sigillatura perfetta anche in presenza di sostanze grasse o unte
eTensil 4 start-up methods. The only screwdriver that let you change start-up modes directly from the tool without modifying the mechanical setup

Brands

 

Products

Geopanel
Sliding table
Bomber 50C
Electric screwdrivers eTensil
Jumbo Duplex

 

add your innovation

Make Salone del Mobile more open

salone del mobile

Salone del Mobile is one of the biggest furniture fairs in the world. It showcases the latest furniture innovations and designs.

Innovation and design are influenced by intuition and by anonymous trend data, but should also include conversations with stakeholders. Our goal is that innovation and design become more participatory by including more external stakeholders. We believe this is better for furniture brands and customers.

For example, furniture design will benefit from feedback by people who install the furniture, or by families who have to switch to working from home.

Take a small step towards making furniture innovation and design more open – add innovations to these Salone del Mobile 2022 brands:

 

Il Giornale di Vicenza promotes openinnovation.me Fiam opportunity

Il Giornale di Vicenza Fiam openinnovation.me

We are very proud that Il Giornale di Vicenza wrote an article about Fiam innovation opportunity on openinnovation.me.

Read the full article here.

This is a good example of how promoting open innovation offers two benefits to brands: it attracts innovators (innovation) and it promotes the brand as innovative, open, and competitive (marketing). Promoting the opportunity on social media, advertising, press will be more beneficial for sales, brand awareness, and loyalty than most other types of content (company news, technical information, fairs, etc).

Customers are saturated by content but they are still searching for something new and different – open innovation opportunities offer this.

We congratulate Fiam and thank Il Giornale di Vicenza. We expect more brands to follow the openinnovation.me path.

Fiam's first opportunity focuses on safety and ergonomy

We are very proud to announce the first Fiam opportunity.

Fiam is an Italian company which designs and manufactures semi-automation tools used by factory workers. Fiam is using openinnovation.me to collect innovation feedback from factory workers who use their tools. Their goal is to maintain leadership in safety and ergonomy.

Fiam has recognized that there is an innovation limitation which can be overcome only if they communicate directly with end-users. True innovation in safety and ergonomy requires high quality communication with end users.

As a solution, openinnovation.me provides Fiam with an always open channel to end users, and a reward system. Factory workers who use Fiam tools can send public or private innovation suggestions to Fiam directly at any time. There are no deadlines or any other limitations making communication between Fiam and end users always open and easy. Also Fiam can then reward all relevant innovations and has started by offering fifteen 100 EUR rewards.

Innovate with Fiam here.

Tips for promoting innovation

innovation teleport

Most companies, even the more organized and successful ones, fail at promoting their innovations effectively. For example, one of the top engineering companies promoted a hydrogen car innovation, but they made it difficult for the audience and press to notice and understand it: they announced the innovation on Twitter but not on their website news, the press release was a PDF and not a page, PDF used a different title and terminology probably because different team worked on it…

Innovation includes promotion and adopting by customers, otherwise it is only an invention which no one uses. And promotion today consists of many technical details which are very easy to learn but often ignored. Failing at these details lowers the rate of innovations.

These are our tips for effectively promoting innovation:

Innovation promotion should be consistent across all channels
All the content – long, short, social texts, images, audio, and video files – should be made or at least supervised by the same team to make sure all terminology, titles, and visuals deliver the same message.

Publish the content at the same time on all channels
Make a list of all channels – home page, news, blog, newsletters, social, webinars – and publish the content on all of them on the same day. Include all languages and all local channels. Reducing languages and channels lowers the perceived importance of the innovation.

Make it easy to share
Do not rely only on platforms which are hard to share from (for example, Youtube is better for video sharing than Vimeo). Make sure all website pages have sharing preview images. All images should be downloadable. Avoid using PDFs. Try sharing your yourself and you will see if it is easy or not. And finally make a short suggestion to the audience to share – they often forget.

To get teleports, lets first promote innovation effectively using above basics.

Innovation vs recession

innovation recession

Recession starts when some companies discover the limit of how much they can push up the pricing of their products and stocks using press and advertising. As the prices up sales start reducing and revenues drop. This shows up negatively on reports, and investors, press, and consumers start panicking. This negatively affects the whole economy.

One way to recognize recession is when unrelated assets behave the same. For example: Ethereum, Tesla stock, Microsoft stock, and Apple stock are all dropping. It is impossible that all four had a problem at the same moment and therefore their drop is motivated by the general sentiment.

In such a situation it is important to recognize which assets can regain and increase value after the recession. These assets are a good investment opportunity during recession. Rate of innovation is one of the best predictors of this opportunity.

Assets of companies and projects that have continuously launched new products offering new solutions, adopted and created new technologies, and fully focused on their customers will most likely rebound and grow after the recession. Companies that did not communicate their innovation well, did not focus on customer but only on internal innovation, did not adopt new technologies, will most likely be severely damaged by the recession and might not rebound.

Innovations are always valuable because they truly change the world.

How you can benefit from being an innovator on openinnovation.me

innovation a day

Innovators are openinnovation.me users who can freely register, add innovations, and win opportunity awards. Anyone can be an innovator including product end-users, brand customers, and employees. Innovators can benefit from using openinnovation.me in various ways:

Win cash rewards as an end-user or a customer
Adding innovations to opportunities makes innovators eligible to cash rewards. openinnovation.me is more focused on distributing many smaller cash rewards (under 1,000 EUR) so possibility of winning is high. Any end-user and customer can apply, and it is always a plus if you are an expert product user or you know the problems a product can solve.

Win cash rewards as an employee
openinnovation.me is also available only to employees of a brand using openinnovation.me. Employees can participate in internal opportunities for which they can win cash rewards. Winning rewards can be considered a bonus on top of their salary, and there is usually less competition for internal opportunities.

Gaining visibility as an innovator
Innovators are usually experts who had a hard time to be visible on other platforms and systems. openinnovation.me can be a platform for them to demonstrate their expertise and build authority on specific topics. While most other platforms force users to compete with generic content, openinnovation.me is a niche platform filtering anything that is not focused on innovation. This is a big plus for experts.

Meeting other innovators
While at the moment we do not allow connections between innovators (we will later), it is still possible to find and get in touch with other innovators by browsing innovations and clicking on innovation authors. Most openinnovation.me innovators should be passionate about innovation so it should be easy to find a match.

Learning about innovation
Being up to date with latest innovations in various industries, categories, localities is very easy with openinnovation.me. Tags are particularly good for this. Exploring unfamiliar tags can be fun and educational. Just open the innovations side bar and choose tags from the pulldown.

Become an innovator on openinnovation.me – register and add your first innovation

Every innovation wants to be global

innovation world

In theory innovation lifecycle consists of steps similar to these (percentage is global adoption):
1) 0 % – invention, something new was made,
2) 0-1 % – small group of early adopters, usually local,
3) 1-3 % – few new groups and localities have been added,
4) 3-5 % – accelerated growth, competitors copy the innovation and add many new localities,
5) 30-90 % – growth slows down as it reaches cultural and other blocks,
6) 90-100 % – innovation is global and accepted by everyone who can use it.

Very few innovations reach step 6 even after decades. For example, even after enormous marketing efforts 58 % of world population has access to internet, 83 % are smart phones users, and 59 % are fully vaccinated against Coronavirus.

Some companies misunderstand that innovation ends at step 3. This kind of thinking limits design, investment, growth, and – most importantly – access to innovation for many around the world. Companies should always create innovations for global adoption. After all local clients adopted it, companies should continue to invest in marketing to customers in other localities and never stop expanding.

Companies should not block the spread of their innovation by stopping to invest. If they do stop, most likely their competitors will take over their market.

Andrea Toniolo to speak at Il Salone della CSR on Friday, 29 April

Andrea Toniolo

Andrea Toniolo, openinnovation.me founder, will speak at Il Salone della CSR in Vicenza on Friday, 29 April 2022.

Andrea will explain how openinnovation.me accelerates company innovation by motivating customers to participate. The CSR conference will include speakers from Marzotto, Diesel, and Verona University. More about Il Salone della CSR.

Register for the event

Watch live streaming on Youtube

Language: Italian
Time: event starts at 10:00 CET, Andrea is speaking at 11:00 CET
Date: Friday, 29 April 2022
Location: Università di Verona, Viale Margherita 87, Vicenza, Italy

See Andrea’s innovations on openinnovation.me or connect on LinkedIn.

Food innovations on openinnovation.me

Food is one product which got worse over time – worse for those who consume it and worse for the environment. It is one of the top industries which needs to accelerate innovation towards healthier and sustainable alternatives. Here are our top food picks from openinnovation.me…

Innovations

Plant-based meat will be featured in Delta Airlines menus
Cultivated salmon can be healthier for consumption due to lack of microplastics and mercury

Walmart invests in vertical farming startup Plenty to provide California customers with locally grown plant food

Beef linked to deforestation is removed from UK supermarkets
The Elmar cutting board is hidden in the drawer of the kitchen. This solution reduces the space while maintaining stability.The Elmar philosophy to optimize space is applied in all convertible tables

Brands

 

Products

LIBERA
Peel & Stick
Taco Lover’s Pass
Activia

 

Tags

food
food composter
seafood
kitchen
supermarket

 

add your innovation

Innovations for every home on openinnovation.me

Homes are not innovated often because of the high costs, but they are a crucial global innovation factor. Everyone needs one and they offer thousands of innovation opportunities. Homes also affect global economies and sustainability. Below is a list of our favorite home innovations currently available, with a focus on openinnovation.me open brands…

Innovations

100 3D printed houses to be built in Austin, Texas
Wing Island is an innovative kitchen island because in only 115cm it encloses a flexible cooking area and a back panel that can be transformed into a table to optimize spaces

Lineabeta – Careto “Careto” is a small cart for bathroom totaly made with sustainable materials: aluminium, bamboo, …

T-FAST allows the installation of a domestic hot water recirculation pump kit. This allows comfort and lowers energy consumption and water usage
Drainroof is a modular panel for green roofs that has a triple function: protecting the waterproofing membrane, retaining rainwater to prevent runoff, and supporting the growth of plants
With the K&B collection for every square meter of carpet we produce, we remove 100 PET bottles from the seas, fields and roads
Ecocapsule fully off-grid, smart, self-sustainable micro-house, powered only by solar and wind energy. It allows you to stay in remote places out of reach of urban networks on sale for 79,900 EUR

 

Brands

 

Products

Aquabox
Bath
LIBERA
Bomber 50C

 

Tags

building energy efficiency
kitchen
bathroom

 

add your innovation

Car innovations on openinnovation.me

Car category is one of the most rapidly changing. It also affects many other categories such as energy, transport, travel, urbanism. Here are our favorites from openinnovation.me

 

Innovations

Bentley plans to build a new electric model annually for five years from 2025
The end of the “drivers seat” has officially started. USA regulation removes the need for human control in autonomous vehicles

Future Volvo cars are expected to feature larger head-up displays to improve driving convenience

Polestar has launched their new model – O2
Electric mini car Citroen Ami will be available in UK in spring 2022 but will keep the left driving wheel position

 

Brands

 

Products

Polestar O2
Ami One Concept
Spring
Waymo Driver
Teorema

 

Tags

car
autonomous vehicle
electric vehicle

 

add your innovation

Energy innovations on openinnovation.me

Energy is a hot trend now. Energy prices are surging globally and the adoption of clean energy is being prioritized. Bellow is a selection of openinnovation.me energy innovations, brands, products, and tags.

 

Innovations

Quaise aims to digg 20 km deep to provide geothermal energy
Fusion sustained for 5 seconds is a sign it can be sustained and controlled as an energy source much longer
Lovato installed 85 MACUK S-SR to lower energy consumption of the residential project in 9 Sutton Court Road Residential in London. Building was designed by Twelve Architects architects
TerraPower Natrium nuclear reactor to be demonstrated in Wyoming, USA
Completa innovative green roof trays act as a thermal barrier, saving up to 35 % energy for air conditioning and heating

 

Brands

 
 

Products

Geoplast Completa
Vortex Bladeless Wind Turbine
Tesla Megapack
TerraPower Molten Chloride Fast Reactor
Lovato Bomber 50C

 
 

Tags

energy
building energy efficiency
clean energy
geothermal energy

 
 

add your innovation

The importance of innovation

innovation

Our openinnovation.me platform and services are dedicated to the promotion of innovation. We want to help everyone, especially smaller companies, to accelerate innovation and deliver more value to customers. We also want that companies listen more to customers, making customers active participants instead of passive consumers.

Due to the current political turmoil, political worldwide content has increased and pushed back innovation content. This is not good, and – to reduce it – we will double our efforts to promote innovation, and connect companies and innovators. No matter what happens in the political world, innovation is still the driving force behind most of the positive changes in our lives. That must never be forgotten. This is what we believe in.

Saying that, we hope that the conflicts resolve as fast as possible with least pain for citizens on all sides.

Help us promote innovation by adding and sharing innovation on openinnovation.me.

Educate customers about innovation, luxury, sustainability...

soft values

How many customers can understand which foods are healthy, which clothing is luxurious, which car is innovative, which house is sustainable, which company is open to their feedback?

Customers can easily understand if products are cheaper or more expensive because everyone knows arithmetic. But when it comes to more complex soft values such as health, luxury, innovation, sustainability, openness, they experience difficulty and can make wrong purchasing choices.

Main causes are fierce competition which motivates brands to fake these values, and lack of customer education. Most customers think only vegetables are healthy, luxury is always expensive, innovation is a change in product size, and openness is a fast reply from brand’s social media account. Customers have difficulty making an informed choice and end up paying for poorer quality.

To compete with complex soft values first educate your team and then invest in customer education. Customer education will increase customer loyalty and reduce competitors. Initial investment is minimal – short videos and texts will do the job.

Design your open innovation mix

open innovation mix

Theory is great but what should companies actually do? Here is a list of open innovation and innovation content projects to do – making your open innovation mix.

 

Innovation projects

Strategy
Write down the innovation strategy including customer, partner, and internal feedback.
Suggested frequency: two per year.

Opportunities
Publish innovation opportunities to customers, partners, and internally. These can be simple online pages, documents, presentations.
Suggested frequency: few per year.

Innovation partners
Make a presentation about your skills or ideas and talk to companies and individuals who you think might be interested in working with you on them.
Suggested frequency: one per month.

Training
Remind your customers, partners, and internal teams how innovative your company is, how you innovate, what your plans us, how they can innovate with your company.
Suggested frequency: every quarter.

 

Innovation content projects

Innovation posts
Publish quick and easy explanations of your innovations, products, and projects on your innovation channel.
Suggested frequency: few per week.

Short videos
Publish 10 – 60 sec videos which explain your innovations on all major social media.
Suggested frequency: one per week.

Long videos
These videos explain your main innovations, products, and projects. They are used for years ahead.
Suggested frequency: one every two months.

Renders and infographics
These are images which visually explain your innovations, products, and projects. They are used for years ahead.
Suggested frequency: one per month.

Landing pages
Make dedicated landing pages which explain your innovation and call customers and partners to participate in it.
Suggested frequency: you should have at least one innovation landing page.

Small campaigns
Small campaigns include articles, newsletter, digital advertising, and social media, and are great way to communicate more important innovation information.
Suggested frequency: one per week.

Big campaigns
Big campaigns include press, events, interviews, and all other digital and non-digital channels. They are used for product launches and similar big events.
Suggested frequency: two per year.

Open events
Open events can be digital or non-digital. They are an opportunity to answer questions from the public and are important in building an open rapport with customers and partners. They can also be internal.
Suggested frequency: one per month.

 

We provide openinnovation.me features and services to help you upgrade your open innovation mix. Contact Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me for more information.

Alternative innovation & marketing terminology

monopoly terminology innovation

Here are some alternative definitions of popular terms used every day in management. Maybe they can give you a different point of view.

Innovation
Real purpose of a company
A way to create a monopoly
A way to destroy a monopoly

Monopoly
Company which does not need to innovate
Company which increases costs of basic operations for everyone else
Company which works to reduce innovation by other companies

Open innovation
Highest ROI activity a company can do
A way for smaller companies to grow rapidly
A way to make a monopoly innovative
A way to shorten the existence of a monopoly
Most important brand equity metric

Brand
An innovation created to increase the soft (imaginary) value of companies and products
A way to make empty promises to customers (not always)
A company change process which includes steps: outsider, signaling participant, real participant, leader
A way to crash the economy
Cultural weapon

Strategy
Innovation plan
Consolidation of conflicts between innovation and brand

Openness
Being powerful and courageous enough to listen to others
The cheapest and the most efficient market research

Advertising
A way to distract, bankrupt, and destroy the monopoly challengers

There is no innovation without innovation content

OPEN INNOVATION BILLBOARD

Open innovation is research & development adapted to current culture and technology. Decades ago innovation was reduced to closed research & development. There was much less competition and globalization so closed research & development was low risk.

Today with 3 biggest change forces – digitalization, globalization, sustainability – closed research & development is a high risk. Digitalization and sustainability require skills which are usually not present in companies, and globalization increases competition and diversity of non-local markets.

Open innovation is the most efficient way to manage this complexity and attract various experts from different markets.

But open innovation does not happen by itself. In order to get experts to contribute to company innovation they need to perceive the company as innovative and understand its innovations. To achieve this company needs to publish innovation content. Without innovation content experts will not know how to contribute, especially in the case of SMBs which ca be very niche and less visible.

Innovation today is mostly open innovation and it depends on innovation content especially for the majority of companies which are not well known global brands. If companies do not produce innovation content and do not openly innovate, they will rely only on entertainment & sales content. This type of content can boost short term stats but it does not help the long term growth.

Conclusion is that there is no innovation without innovation content. Motivating people outside the company to do something for the company always requires a lot of promotion and education.

3 innovation promotion steps

innovation content steps

Companies often neglect to promote their innovations – they either do not mention their innovations at all or explain them poorly. Here are 3 steps every company should do to promote their innovation:

Use the word “innovation”
Many companies do not refer to themselves as innovative even though they are. Maybe because “innovation” sometimes seems like an empty buzzword. But I still advice using it as a first step. Once it is used it forces you to explain how you are innovative which is not an empty buzzword.

Practice explaining your innovations
Practice making copy, images, renders, infographics, short and long videos, live events, landing pages which explain your innovations. When you start explaining your innovations is hard, but your confidence and efficiency will grow quickly with practice. Main goal of explaining innovations is to synthesize the complexity and make it easy for customers to gain initial motivation. Once they are motivated they will continue to expand their understanding of your innovations on their own.

Make a separate channel for your innovation content
In this channel publish only innovation explanations for your products, services, projects. Do not add any other content here. On openinnovation.me we offer this feature, but you can also make a separate Twitter account, Facebook page, newsletter. Promote it on all other channels. It will have a smaller audience and less engagements but it will have a much higher lead quality.

Email Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me to learn more about our features & services for promotion of innovation.

Metaverse for companies

metaverse

Metaverse represents virtual and augmented reality technologies which have been in development for a while. Metaverse is a main components of web 3.0 and will become a standard communication channel.

With web 1.0 companies adopted email, websites, forums. This was a shock to their cultures and budgets. After almost 3 decades some companies are still struggling to adopt web 1.0. With web 2.0 companies changed and invested even more to adopt social media, mobile, AI. Web 2.0 created a bigger barrier between adopters and others. A lot of stagnation was caused by lack of adoption of web 2.0, while adopters grew exponentially. Web 3.0 will be much harder and more expensive to adopt, and will create a bigger gap between adopters and non-adopters.

Main driver of web 3.0 divide will be the metaverse. Metaverse requires substantial company changes and investment while creating an enormous difference in customer experience. Companies that adopt metaverse will be way ahead in the eyes of the customers. Metaverse will include virtual and augmented reality design, engineering, training, meetings, tools, services, sales, shopping, experiences.

Web 1.0 used a hard to carry desktop screen. Web 2.0 used a mobile screen we could easily carry everywhere. Web 3.0 is a screenless information layer over what we see (augmented reality) or in a completely new virtual reality.

Changing processes, training staff, and investing in metaverse will not be possible for majority of SMBs and startups. There will be plenty of service providers offering easy solutions, but companies that succeed will be the ones which use expensive, custom, unique solutions, and not the ones which use cheaper, easy, premade solutions. Web 3.0 and metaverse will be the most destructive forces giving an enormous boost to adopters. They will create a communication layer which further makes product innovation less relevant, making all the innovative SMBs and startups less independent.

Our advice is to prepare now. Spreading the changes and investment over longer time is a better option.

Web 3.0 is here!

Web is the most dominant media today. TV, radio, paper, and other old media have been loosing relevance for decades. Web has basically became the main way all cultures globally exchange value. Not only that it delivers information but also is integral in production and trade. Web versions include upgrades of main web technologies and culture, and are driven by end user adoption.

So far there have been two web upgrades:

Web 1.0 was the first web which introduced websites, domain names, email, e-commerce, blogging, forums, username & password login. Example brands are Amazon, eBay.

Web 2.0 was the first upgrade which introduced social media, AI, mobile, user generated content, online software (SaaS). Example brands are Google, Facebook (now Meta).

First two web versions had a huge impact on the global economy, culture, and politics which affected every company and individual. Web 2.0 had a greater impact than web 1.0, and web 3.0 will be even more powerful. Web 3.0 is happening right now. It is a culmination of many trends such as blockchain, AI, VR, Coronavirus crisis, and is rapidly accelerating.

In future articles I will be writing more about specific changes, but at this point, at the start of the 2022, I wanted to emphasize that web 3.0 is here and companies need to work even harder than before to adopt it to remain competitive. Not all companies need to change their products but all companies must adapt their marketing and communication on all levels.

Web 3.0 is here and it should be taken seriously.

How to be an innovator in 2022?

SUPPORT INNOVATION

There are three attitudes a person can have towards an innovation: support, don’t care, block. Same person can be supportive of one innovation, while blocking another.

But most people are not aware of their attitude and role in innovation, and act as simple consumers, not as innovators. They do not perceive their importance in innovation and therefore are not fully empowered.

One of our goals at openinnovation.me is that everyone has a clear understanding of their role in innovation and is fully empowered. That they know that they are important and can impact innovation much more than just mere consumers – that they are innovators.

Ever since I started using openinnovation.me I became passionate about some innovations and lost interest in others. Time will tell if my choices are correct ones, but the more important change is that I started evaluating brands and products as vehicles for innovation. This is a big change from my previous views as a basic consumer.

My suggestion is to treat our own innovation support, passivity, and blocking, as very important, because each one of us has the power to buy, share, or ignore an innovation. And this power should not be taken likely.

See you in 2022!

Biggest innovation trends now

INNOVATIVE

Without updating innovation processes companies can not create competitive innovation. Here are the biggest innovation trends your company should apply:

Decentralization
Decentralization is a management approach which includes as many decision makers as possible. Being centralized is a risk. Everything proves that single person or small teams can hit the jackpot sometimes but not consistently in the long run. Decentralize innovation from a single person or a closed team by including more teams, customers, partners.

Crowdsourcing
Unless your company has strict security protocols you should be using the collective power of the “crowd” – your customers, partners, everyone. Crowdsourcing is not decentralization because it does not share decision making but it collects information and knowledge from everyone it can.

Openness
Decentralization and crowdsourcing will not be very effective if the company is not transparent and open, if it does not share more about itself and its goals. People who need to be included in decentralization and crowdsourcing are sensitive to company transparency. The more open the company is, the better.

Data & AI
Supporting above trends with data & AI can be very powerful. Sharing data and AI reports with customers can educate and empower them, and position your company as more open. However, using data & AI without above management and cultural changes will only entrench the outdated innovation methods and block the change.

Big change! We added product pages and brand & product innovation ranking

more innovative

We added new openinnovation.me features which I believe make a profound change.

We added single product pages which allow easier way to learn and share product information. Our goal is to inform users on how innovative single products are. This is our first step and we will keep expanding on a single product information.

We are now listing brands and products by how many innovations and important rates they have. Brands and products shown on top the brand and product list pages have the most innovations and important rates which means that they are most likely considered the most innovative. Innovations can be added both by brands and users, but most likely they will be dominantly added by users. This feature will quickly inform users which brand and product are considered innovative by the general public.

These changes are perfectly aligned with our mission to increase innovation by connecting brands and users. This includes allowing users to have a voice in what is innovative, and to clearly inform them.

Try Brand list and Product list.

In the search bar you can turn of listing by innovations and use the alphabetical list of brands and products.

Elon Musk is the messenger of change

elon musk

Before the 80s marketing was focused on the big four – science, engineering, innovation, and design because this was the best way to compete. Unfortunately, in the 80s companies and investors realized they can make lower quality products while using mass media advertising to sell them. The age of marriage between superficial advertising and financialization started reaching its peak in 2010s. Science, engineering, innovation, design remained as empty buzzwords. Customers started thinking science is a high school class, engineering is something developing countries needed, innovation is a new Coca Cola taste, and design is something that has reached its peak centuries ago. The only thing that changed through extreme competition was the advertising and financial products.

An individual is not someone who changes but a messenger of change that is coming. When Elon Musk became the richest individual in the world he delivered this message: science, innovation, engineering, and design are relevant again. Elon changed cultural values that dominated most of the global society for half a century. He shifted our appreciation from Warren Buffet – who makes money with cheap consumer goods and financial services, to himself – who makes electric cars, rockets, and solar panels. This change if profound.

Science, engineering, innovation, and design can not work unless the global culture does not accept them as they should be accepted. Us humans are very flexible and we adopt different values every few decades. We are easy to change. Mass media – press, radio, television, and now internet and social media – are tools used to change our values. Before there were big differences in values between geographic regions, but today these differences are minimal. We are all changing in the same direction which is a great opportunity and a big risk.

The message that Elon Musk brings is that we are changing towards science, engineering, innovation, and design, away from cheap, superficial, financialized products which pollute. This is good news. Participate in this change on openinnovation.me.

What I learned after adding more than 140 innovations

nikola tosic

As a founder of openinnovation.me I was the first user or, as we say, innovator. I registered on 18 September 2020 and in 14 months I added 141 innovations and rated 435 innovations as important. Every time I started using a new publishing platform or social media I was slow, and openinnovation.me was not different. I was a bit blocked about what to write, but eventually I accelerated and discovered my style and interests. Here are my main impressions:

I learned more about things that interest me
Even after working in some domains for decades I was still surprised by innovations others posted. I found this little reality check very useful.

I discovered new interests
I had no idea that I would enjoy biotech, health, and pharma as much. I did not post so much about it but I found myself constantly interested. I only need to find a way to quickly find innovations and brands. I only wish we already had a biotech, health, and pharma innovators and brands that posted often so I can learn more.

I started to evaluate media and products as innovation
Before I could be distracted much easier and I was engaging news and media on a more reactionary basis. I still like fun and engaging content but I am much more objective in evaluating news, entertainment, and products. I could say that my world view shifted a bit towards being more objective.

I gained more confidence in my knowledge and authority in my work
Adding 141 and rating 435 innovations means I read almost 300 of innovations by other people. This is less than one innovation in 5 mins a day. Although I spend much more time on other social media (Twitter, Linkedin, TikTok, Youtube, Facebook) time spent on openinnovation.me was much more effective in informing and teaching me. As all these minutes added over months I felt better and better about the experience and was more motivated to add and read. openinnovation.me was a positive experience for me.

Less obvious innovation methods

REPURPOSED SHIPPING CONTAINERS

Innovation is not only the creation of new technologies, but includes all kinds of changes which can appear smaller but are actually very impactful. Here are few suggestions:

Recycling
Replacing virgin with recycled materials and making a product easier to recycle.
Example: clothing, which is made from recycled fabrics, is recycled.

Repurposing
Changing the purpose of a product or a project so it avoids obsolesce and neglect.
Example: building is repurposed as an urban farm instead of being demolished.

New uses
Final users suggest new uses of an existing product making it more valuable.
Example: WD 40.

Upgrading
Modernizing the product by replacing its old technologies and materials with new ones.
Example: using healthier ingredients in fast food.

Examine your product and project portfolio and see how you can apply above innovation methods to make your products better, while maintaining the core values and customers.

3 questions innovation texts should answer

innovation

Since the arrival of internet, brands have focused on making content cool and neglecting to promote innovation. Cool content had a bigger chance of becoming viral and would get much more superficial statistics like views and likes. In the mean time content which explains innovation was underestimated and explaining innovation became a lost art.

Today innovation is becoming more competitive than ever and brands that explain it well win. Here are 3 questions each innovation text should try to answer:

1) Are we promoting a product? If not then how is the innovation delivered to the end user? Is this a project, a process, experience?

2) Who is the end user? Forget the retailers, partners, distributors, but understand and focus on the end user.

3) How is this improving the experience of the final user? What is new and better compared to alternatives?

The more honest and clear the answers are, the more powerful the text will be.

Customer conversation is a strategic resource

customer conversation

Today a typical value chain has many layers between products designers and customers who use the products. These are distributors, retailers, marketers, sales, and many other managers. This results in product designers who design safety products but never or rarely speak to people who actually need to be safe, food designers who make food perfect for supermarkets but unhealthy for consumers, entertainment companies which bet their investments on few people instead of just talking to the audience.

Managers know this problem but were not able to solve it for decades. There were many attempts such as complaint boxes, focus groups, market research methods, polls, and social media and big data. But if we ask a product designer how much contact they had with a customer they will say none or too little.

This is a substantial business risk. Access to customers is a valuable resource and a competitive advantage. Customers can not talk to many companies at once, their attention is limited, and the first company that starts a conversation with them will have a substantial advantage.

Customer conversation is openness – ability of a company to engage customers and stakeholders in an open conversation. Purpose of openness is always to innovate because, simply, this is what customers and stakeholders want. Innovation is the main goal of the company and the main value customers want – they want new things that are better than old things.

openinnovation.me and our services are focused on developing customer conversation as a strategic resource making our clients more competitive. To start a conversation with your customers contact Andrea Toniolo at andrea@openinnovation.me.

Innovation tags only

innovation tags

In openinnovation.me we have decided to use only tags to connect innovations, brands, products, and opportunities. We removed the categories and countries. Previously added categories and countries are now added as tags.

I have been a huge fan of tags as a way to organize content ever since WordPress added them in 2000s. Tags later gained much more popularity as social media hashtags, especially on Instagram and Twitter, allowing tagging of billions of posts. I am happy that now you can focus only on tags to add and browse innovations, brands, products, and opportunities on openinnovation.me. Using only tags is simpler and more straightforward.

I do recognize that the search tag pulldown is not a good solution. Soon we will replace it with a better one.

One way you can view tags is as roadmaps for innovation. For example, a tag for 3D house printing will show all ideas, related trends, problems, events, brands, products, opportunities for this technology in a timeline.

When adding tags feel free to use multiple words divided by space and do not use “#” symbol. Since we have a separate input field for tags, there is no need to apply these social media tagging rules. openinnovation.me tag can be “john smith” while social media tag must be #johnsmith.

PS We also added French and German languages. You can change your language by going to your profile and clicking the “edit” button.

Our first decade of innovation

decade of innovation

As a team we started in the summer of 2011. In one way or the other we have always focused on innovation. We helped customers, users, clients, and partners to adopt, create, market, and sell innovation. From the start our method was pragmatic as much as possible – innovation is about convincing people to buy, not about prototypes in the garage.

Since then we helped individuals, investors, microbusinesses, small businesses, medium businesses, large and multinational companies, and various organizations to innovate and spread innovation in Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa.

We helped clients define winning values, we made complex technologies more understandable, we trained sales in how to focus on and explain innovation, we designed products, we organized product launches, we built, trained, and managed engineering teams, and more.

We worked with wine and gelato brands, helped many companies improve their and sustainability of their customers, designed and developed artificial intelligence, started our own and helped other start tech startups, managed innovation funding, helped successful products transition from one market to other, improved health of tens of thousands, and the list can go on.

Our work today on openinnovation.me and innovation consulting is a culmination of all our experience and knowledge. We are here to help clients and their customers solve problems we saw repeat over and over again – problems which when solved will improve lives for everyone.

And we are even more excited about the next several decades. Thank you for your support.

How can brands use openinnovation.me

big fan features

In openinnovation.me there are two types of users: innovators, anyone who can easily register, and brands, companies that purchase access to innovation features. These features, accessible only to brands, enable following activities:

Profile
A brand page which features all products, innovations, contacts, and other information about the brand. It allows anyone to contact the brand, promote it, and buy products. Benefit for brands is that they are promoting themselves and their products as innovative. It is important for them to have one place which explains all of their innovations so customers can easily learn and use it.

Innovations
Brands can publish innovation posts publicly on their profiles and share them on other social media. This way they will continuously attract, stay in touch, and educate the audience. This is the same process as with other social media but focused only on innovation.

Groups
Brands can organize selected innovators – openinnovation.me users or anyone who they invite via email – into innovation groups, and share products and opportunities only with them. This allows them to easily collect feedback from the group members, and work with them closely and continuously with them on design and innovation.

Opportunities
Opportunities are projects which offer rewards to innovators. They can be competitions, open calls, partnership and job offers – an opportunity for another company or an innovator to cooperate with the brand. They are a great tool for brand awareness, partnership, recruitment, and are our alternative to advertising.

Above features create new ways of communication for brands to improve their innovation, learn more about the customers, enrich customer relationships, and build brand awareness. They offer a refreshing alternative to established channels such as newsletters and social media.

To use openinnovation.me brand features contact Andrea Toniolo at andrea@openinnovation.me.

Now you can promote your webinars and events as innovations

event

We consider marketing and sales an important part of innovation. If products and services are not placed on the market and are not sold, then there is no innovation. With digitalization the quantity, quality, and relevance of live events has increased drastically. All social media feature live events and there are numerous platforms for webinars and online meetings. We recognize that these events are an important part of innovation and we want to support them.

From today when adding an innovation on openinnovation.me you will also be offered a new innovation type: Event. You can promote your or any innovation related events using this innovation type. Add the event link in the “Insert link or Youtube video” field or in the “rich text long description”. You can promote future events or publish news on past events.

We hope that this improvement further accelerates innovation rate, reach, sharing, and education.

If you have questions please contact Andrea at andrea@openinnovation.me or me at nikola@openinnovation.me.

openinnovation.me new business cases

innovation business case

Business cases are new process or projects in a company. At openinnovation.me we are always working with clients and partners on creating new business cases which were not previously possible. Here are some examples:

Collecting feedback from end users of your products
This seems simple but in most cases getting feedback from final users of products is blocked by levels of management and retailers. Having a direct line to users is highly valuable.

Offering feedback to suppliers
This is the reverse version of collecting feedback from end users. Allowing direct feedback flow from your team to the supplier will be beneficial for your company and theirs. Although this innovation cooperation is always present, it is not systematic and neglected.

Discovering new uses of products
WD-40 is a product with 2000 uses with new ones being added constantly. New uses of products extend the product life and increase its competitiveness. Best way to discover them is by listening to customers.

Sharing new uses of products with clients
Once new uses are discovered and approved it is important to share them with all the other customers and partners efficiently therefore increasing the value of product for them. This is a form of innovation content which can often be obscured on non-innovation channels, and therefore requires its own channel.

Adding external (more open) innovators
Companies eventually switch from making to buy innovation and innovators. Instead of hiring staff and hoping that they come up with something new, companies look for someone who already created something new and partner with them. This is referred to as research when brands are too weak to attract, and marketing when brands are strong and attract external innovators.

Engaging innovative teams at early stages of innovation (closer to idea stage)
This is an improvement to adding external innovators. The sooner the innovators are found or attracted the easier and cheaper it is to integrate their innovation. The later they are attracted the price of their innovation is higher, and it is harder to integrate. Goal is to find a sweet spot after they lose interest for full time employment and before their projects gain traction.

If you are interested in developing new business cases in your company, email Andrea Toniolo at andrea@openinnovation.me.

Random innovation facts

moses

There has never been so many bad products which need replacement: gasoline cars, virgin plastics, soft drinks, processed food. Our children will live in a very different world. Very soon these products will have to be replaced. Question is when and by whom, and how will this affect your company. As you are reading this trillions of EUR are invested in replacing them, and millions of people are working on it.

Selling is a necessary step of innovation. If products are not sold, innovation does not happen. But selling is not the best way to grow. Best way to grow is by co-innovating with other companies, preferably bigger ones with access to markets your company can not access. Finding innovation partners is the first step of innovation.

Many established companies are just renting their marketing & sales to innovators because today innovation is not something which can be easily managed. The best strategy is simply to be as open as possible and attract the best innovators and offer them marketing & sales power.

There is an enormous amount of innovation that is not delivering value to customers but only to shareholders. For example, how to make employees more happy at jobs which are by default not happy jobs, or how to sell the same products over and over again without innovating it. Paradoxically choosing shareholders over customers creates loss for both shareholders and customers, and still managers chose it.

Our generations have the least belief that future will be different because brands have marketed to us when we were kids, convincing us we will always drinks Coca Cola, eat at McDonalds, drive gasoline cars, wear the same clothes. All previous generations saw dramatic changes in the world around them and actively participated in those changes. Our generations are passive consumers who see the future as a slightly polished up present.

Be an innovator at www.openinnovation.me.

Motivation - never stop sharing your innovation ideas

wright brothers

Adding innovations is not easy. We feel under pressure when we write an innovation idea down and share it with others. Maybe it is too technical? Maybe it is not technical enough? Maybe it is ridiculous? Maybe everyone knows this already? Maybe someone will steal my idea? I have been writing for most of my life and I still avoid sharing most of the innovation ideas I have.

One thing helps me move forward – I should simply ask for what I really want to have. And if I want it, everyone else probably wants it, because we are not that different.

This kind of maybe childish simplicity is exactly how great innovation starts, and everyone should try it – even the leaders of biggest innovation teams. Sometimes the biggest challenge in innovation is to maintain this level of clarity.

Sci-fi, fiction, religion, art, science, engineering, design are all reflections of what we crave. If we are able to listen and formalize them, without worrying too much about the politics, technologies, processes, rules, then we will move forward quickly.

No matter what you do, just think of what you would want and write it down as an innovation. It will never be wrong. Add an innovation now.

End user feedback with openinnovation.me

end user feedback

Companies have a hard time collecting end user feedback. They can conduct interviews or use social media, but this kind of feedback is not consistent, hard to document and share, and often unfocused.

openinnovation.me supports three levels of end user feedback: internally from team members, with focus groups from selected users, and publicly from everyone. Additionally an opportunity can be created to focus the feedback on a specific product, feature, or goal, and offers awards.

Whatever the channel a company chooses, it is also important to promote the feedback opportunity to the end users. This can be done with public campaigns or private invitations. The success always depends on the level of openness and company brand awareness.

On openinnovation.me is end users can communicate whenever they want, on whatever they want, and however they want. An easy open relationship is created which is more productive than limited surveys, interviews, and other methods.

Promoting end user feedback to customers is beneficial for innovation and for enrichment of customer relationships. Companies which listen will always be more competitive. Contact us for your end user feedback project.

Why you should post on openinnovation.me?

Recently we launched openinnovation.me. It is currently available as a desktop and mobile website, and an Android app, with iOS app coming soon.

openinnovation.me allows anyone to view, rate, add, and share innovations. Innovations are posts – just like tweets or Linkedin posts – which focus only on innovation. They can be categorized as your own idea, innovative product or project, problem or a trend. An innovation can simply be a link to an article or a YouTube video and it only takes a minute to add.

But why should you post innovations?

1) It makes you think more about innovation,
2) You are showing others how much you actually know,
3) You can connect to people who care about the same innovations as you.

I suggest that you post one or more innovations per week, and spend few minutes per day browsing openinnovation.me.

It is a small investment compared to the time we spend on social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, which do not offer such specific benefits.

Download the openinnovation.me Android app

openinnovation.me Android app is now available on the Google Play store here.

This is the LITE version which means it has all the mobile website functionality but no added app features such as notifications. iOS openinnovation.me LITE app will be launched soon as well, and later on we will launch the native apps with full app features.

Our goal is always to connect brands to innovators so better products and experiences are created. The social media part of openinnovation.me is designed to promote brands and attract innovators to them. Innovators can be experts, customers, engineers, partners, companies, universities – any individual or group which has the know-how to help a company innovate. Making mobile apps helps this goal making openinnovation.me more accessible to everyone.

Hope you like our app experience. If you have suggestions you can add an innovation or email me at nikola@openinnovation.me.

You get what you like

innovation

You get what you like. By interacting with online content you are telling companies what you want, and companies will make it. Digital media, especially social media, is based on this principle.

The problem is that there is so much easy-to-like entertainment content online, that other types of content stand little chance. We all need more innovation – better medicine, better transport, healthier lifestyles, solutions to climate crisis, etc. But we are given mostly likable entertainment, and the more we like it the more we get it. This trend has been accelerating for the past decade.

There are many companies that improve our lives but are not able to compete with entertainment, and they do not grow. Investors, customers, talent gravitate towards entertaining and away from innovative not-entertaining companies. Even worse is that managers decide that it is better to invest in entertainment than in innovation.

To solve this companies should invest more in innovation content which is a necessary element of innovation. And we should all interact with it more. On openinnovation.me instead of a like we use the important button. Using it you are telling companies to innovate more.

Innovation washing

innovation washing

Innovation washing is a term for companies which are not innovative but promote themselves as such, just like green washing.

Only real innovation is open innovation – it includes many stakeholders in the process and is for many stakeholders. A lot of what is called innovation is not made for the majority of the stakeholders and is not real innovation. Figuring out a way to have less employees without adding value to customers is not an innovation. Changing the lives of millions of customers for better is an innovation.

Companies that improve their internal efficiency without providing value to customers are usually the biggest innovation washers. They promote their brands as innovative, use the word innovation excessively, but their products are stagnating. In some cases, like with BMW, VW, and Daimler, they block innovation.

If we want improvement it is important to tell the difference between real innovation and innovation washing. Companies that really innovate offer products to customers which make a real and obvious difference.

openinnovation.me tutorial - innovation types explained

openinnovation.me innovation type

When adding an innovation to openinnovation.me you are required to choose which type your innovation is. Here is a quick explanation of the innovation types:

Idea
This is your idea what you think should be done, made, improved. Do not worry if someone else might have the same idea – this is normal, different people can have the same idea.
Example: smart phone controls for cars.

Product
This is an update about an innovative product. It is best to focus on a single benefit of a product, like innovative breaks in a new car model. Avoid promoting a whole product unless it is a product launch.
Example: energy saving benefits of the new fridge.

Project
Describe an innovation used in a project. You can tag a product used in the project. Just like with a product, try to focus on a single innovative benefit of the project, instead of the whole project.
Example: residential house project used latest solar panels.

Trend
Trends are changes shared by many brands and markets. Easiest way to share trends is with news related to a trend or reports on latest projects and products which define the trend.
Example: report on 3D printed houses in California.

Problem
Describing an idea is not easy, but describing a problem is – just follow your frustration. However, avoid being critical and focus on what can be improved with innovation. Problem description is not a complaint.
Example: lack of wind farms in Italy.

Try it now and add your innovation.

VW, BMW, and Daimler colluded to stop innovation

For years top car manufacturers VW, BMW, and Daimler worked together to reduce innovation, and offered less value to customers and damaged the environment. On 8 July 2021 the European Commission fined VW and BMW a total of 875 billion EUR. Daimler was protected from the penalty as a whistleblower. This anti-innovation scandal came just after the Exxon scandal.

Theoretically it was always clear that the largest companies prefer to maintain status quo and fight against innovation. Practically it is only recently that these strategies are exposed and criticized. This new fight against anti-innovation is motivated by digitalization which increases transparency and sustainability which pressures all companies to change.

Innovation is an essential element of civilization and it is immoral to restrict access to it. Restricting innovation is equal to restricting water and shelter. I really do hope that people at VW, BMW, Daimler, and Exxon, understand the greater value of innovation and will now work to promote it. Otherwise, much more than their companies will be damaged. If big companies which control majority of global markets restrict change, we will not go very far.

Companies should add an innovation channel

innovation content channel

Once a company starts making innovation content, it should have a channel dedicated to it. Here is why:

Some customers only want innovation content
They do not want to go through blogs, Instagram images, TikTok videos, thousands of Tweets, random news, to get what they want. It should be easy for them to access information about your innovation and products.

All customers want diverse content
No one likes to eat the same food or wear the same clothes every day. Customers need a place where they can easily experience a different side of the company – the innovation side. This will enrich their experience and understanding of the company, and improve loyalty.

Adding one more channel is easy
Companies already use many content channels such as newsletters, websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, fairs & events, TV, direct marketing, etc. There can be hundreds of them each with different message defined by the channel technology and audience. Adding a new channel is a standard procedure.

Innovation channel ROI is great
Innovation channel, especially if digital, costs much less than most channels because communicating innovation is easier. Also companies can move their audience from other channels to it easily without investing much in advertising.

Email me to open your company innovation channel at openinnovation.me.

Innovation content defined

innovation content

Innovation content is content which promotes a tangible positive change. While everyone will agree that a flying car is an innovation because everyone would want one, many innovations are not accepted by the majority because they are made for few customers. Innovations should be accepted as their customers see them, not how they appear to the general public.

Innovation content are highly competitive – the more companies produce it the faster they will grow. At least a quarter of content should be dedicated to innovation.

Examples

In the below video IBM is promoting the idea of their Hybrid cloud. Customers are CIOs who manage multiple clouds. The short video is not enough for technicalities but the promise of the innovation and benefit is clear and obvious.

Another example is Nino Shurter demonstrating the new Scott Ransom e-bike. Nino mentions key numbers which show innovative progress but the main innovation is the concept of a downhill e-bike ridden by a cross-country rider in a very dynamic way. This is a big change for mountain bikers and venue owners.

On the other hand next Coca Cola video which extensively uses the word innovation and other buzzwords does not actually promise any tangible change and therefore is not innovation content.

Unfortunately, the more the word innovation is used in content, the less it actually is innovation content. Which makes me wonder about this article :)

How should sales people promote innovation on social media

innovation

Sales people represent their brands and they are brands themselves. It is expected of them to publish content which defines them as experts and attracts leads. Social media, personal blogs, personal newsletters are straightforward tools for sales people to share the content, but it is often not clear which content to share.

Wrong content can get a lot of reactions but will position the brand in the wrong way. Social media metrics like visits and engagements do not guarantee sales or even brand recognition. For growth content should focus on the most competitive company activity – innovation. Sales people should clearly promote innovation which grows revenue and long term brand loyalty.

Here are few tips on how sales people should promote innovation on social media:

Do not be shy
Sales people must understand and believe in their company innovation. Belief in innovation and passion to share it are not arrogance, but confidence.

Give it space
At least a quarter of content should be dedicated to innovation, products, features, and values they deliver. The remaining content can be entertaining, destressing, news, support for others, etc.

Use the correct words
Use the words innovation, research, design, improvement, value. Also use technical terms related to the innovation, product, and industry.

Own it
Clearly state that this is an innovation by your company. Examples: “our innovation”, “our design”, “we designed it”. Without clarity that your company or you did this, the ownership will not be clear.

Social media for innovation

social media icons

Innovation is one of the most important aspects of society. It improves health, well being, safety, and comfort for everyone. Innovation is a result of collaboration between many stakeholders, but companies are the ones that make innovation available globally as a practical product that sells.

However, social media today does not favor innovation. For example, Instagram is becoming a dominant news source while it is designed to favor personal photos and short videos. This results in innovation adoption slowing down and lost opportunities. There are numerous companies with innovative solutions which could not break through. Especially startups and SMBs. This is a great loss for the market and society.

We want to reverse this trend. There are too many companies that create amazing innovations, yet they produce content which does not promote them. The belief that innovation should be hidden and that customers only want fun is wrong. We believe customers are smart and want to participate in innovation. Now it is up to companies to communicate that, and to engage customer in innovation.

BMW, innovation democracy, & future stakeholders

bmw twitter

BMW asked its Twitter followers to vote on the best sustainable mobility solution and they voted 87 % for public transport and only 5 % for BMW products. This is a great example of difference between what company wants (sell cars) and what customers want (buses).

 

“Innovation is the least democratic activity.”

Matteo Pozzi, Elevator Innovation Hub, at our Talk with us about open innovation event. He added that is something that must be improved and is already changing towards more democratic approaches.

 

“We (Dainese) evaluate direct and indirect stakeholders, but we also focus on the future stakeholders.”

Tommaso Guseo, Dainese, at our Talk with us about open innovation event. Tommaso especially emphasized the importance of understanding future stakeholders and customers when innovating.

Why I made openinnovation.me

nikola tosic openinnovation.me

Building something like openinnovation.me is one in a life time opportunity. It is one of those “build it and they will come” projects that test vision and motivation. I am very lucky and happy to have the opportunity to do it, and clients and a team who share my vision:

Everyone should learn more about innovation
Content creation and consumption have been exponentially increasing for decades. But the quality is not. I want to offer a higher quality content – content about innovation. Innovation is what moves us forward. It is not politics, gossip, and entertainment, but innovation that improves our lives. The more everyone knows about innovation the smarter and better off we will all be. I want to build a social media where content, data, and algorithms serve only one purpose – increase innovation.

Companies should talk more about innovation
Companies got used to sharing low quality content, hacking poorly designed recommendation algorithms, and paying for simple visibility. Companies are actually very smart but they started to pretend they are stupid. Companies create innovations which improve our lives. This has stopped being visible to us. We are living in a time of the biggest disconnect between what companies actually do and how we see them. I want to help companies to again start talking about what they actually do – innovate.

Connecting different people will create more innovation
The more different people talk, the more innovation is created. Unfortunately, finding different people with interest and time to talk about innovation is not an easy job. The biggest block to innovation is being too busy to innovate and I want to solve this. It should be as easily as possible to find people and companies outside our usual circles with whom we can start innovating.

I hope that you join us.

Webinar with Dainese, Elevator Hub, and openinnovation.me

Together with Elevator Hub we have organized an open door webinar which explores three different aspects of innovations:

Global brand product innovation – presented by Tommaso Guseo, Dainese

Innovation hub network concept – presented by Matteo Pozzi, Elevator Hub

Global innovation network – presented by Andrea Toniolo, openinnovation.me

This webinar will have the form of an open discussion – anyone can ask questions and discuss with the Tommaso, Matteo, and Andrea. If you want to stir up your ideas about innovation, this is a webinar for you.

It will be held on 17:00 CET Wednesday 9 June. Language is Italian.

REGISTER HERE

More about the webinar.

5 biggest trends that will change every company

Sustainability
Businesses will be required to operate in a fully sustainable way. This includes how they produce, use energy, transport, their suppliers, and – most importantly – their products.

Digitalization
Most of the businesses stopped digitalization after they made websites, social media profiles, and started using CRM. However, digital gap between market leaders and others is even greater now then before. Biggest digitalization projects are customer portals and software which supports products.

Automation
Artificial intelligence is improving current and creating new automation opportunities. While its popularity in news has dropped lately, it is actually growing in importance. More and more human tasks are automated leaving more time for us to be creative.

Decentralization
Decentralization is a trend which tries to include as many stakeholders as possible by creating self governing platforms. Blockchain is one of the most popular decentralization technologies which is challenging finance.

Openness
Open source, crowdsourcing, open innovation, are all openness trends which have been building up for decades. Openness is a trend which requires companies to be more open to customer needs and to allow more stakeholders to participate.

Conclusion
These trends adhere to these rules:
– Companies that do not adopt them will not survive,
– Integrating them requires deep understanding,
– Adopting to them requires serious consistent long term investment.

Open innovation network defined

open innovation network

Open innovation should be understood as networked innovation. It engages more innovators within and outside the company which results in innovation of higher complexity and competitiveness. For competitors to compete it is not enough to just copy the product, but they must also copy the innovation network, which is impossible.

Such networks should be built with internal departments, external experts, and different companies which can offer new skills, technologies, expertise, points of view. The more diverse yet relevant the innovators are, the more resilient and competitive the innovation will be.

As global competition is increasing it is imperative for companies to increase innovation complexity making them more resilient and competitive. Companies that continue with closed innovation will be easily copied, which means they will be investing in their competitors’ growth, not their own.

Today any single product can be copied, but a customer experience built by an open innovation network is impossible to copy.

Cryptocurrency investment is a fashion statement

Cryptocurrencies are a danger to sustainability and they have failed as a practical currency. However they found success as an investment product. Even as such they are accused of being a risky speculation in spite of rapid growth and big investment.

Main cryptocurrency investment characteristics are:

• It is easier to invest in cryptocurrencies. Trading is less regulated and it is easily accessible to anyone anywhere.

• Investors do not need to invest hundreds of thousands to gain relevant profit. Since they are high growth, smaller investment can be profitable.

• Little knowledge is needed to participate. There is no need to understand market mechanics, forex, innovation, competition.

All of these points are typical of speculation and possible scams, but here the last and most important point:

• Cryptocurrency investors are buying an asset which has no hard value, no use, and probably never will. The only point of buying is to buy it, and not to buy something else. Cryptocurrencies are a fashion statement for those who want to differentiate not only by their clothes and music, but also by their investment choices. This need for individual differentiation is fueling the crypto growth.

Basically, younger investors are saying NO to Wall Street. They are the same people who cheered for GameStop. Cryptocurrencies are purely virtual soft product, which allows its investors to differentiate. It is an investment product more similar to punk and Versace, rather than mutual funds and Apple stock.

To predict its growth we must answer this question: How many more people will want to use cryptocurrencies as a fashion statement?

First find the best customer for your innovation

open innovation

Innovation starts with a problem. Solving a problem requires deep understanding of customers who experience it. That can happen only in two cases: you are the customers or you understand customers well.

Customers you connect with and understand will define your innovation.

In reality companies stop talking with new customers and focus on legacy customers and internal stakeholders – distributors, sales, engineers, owners. But without the contact with new customers companies can not make highly competitive innovation.

Open innovation opens up companies to new customers with problems which are more profitable to solve. It motivates the company to talk to new people which results in new products, more competitive innovation, and new revenues.

Before finding a problem, understand the type of customer you want to help. Working only for legacy customers or internal stakeholders will result in less competitive innovation.

Happy World Creativity and Innovation Day - 21 April

world creativity and innovation day

World Creativity and Innovation Day is a great opportunity to remind ourselves that creativity and innovation are not one-to-many activity but a many-to-many cooperation. Only reason that we had one-to-many approach is because technology was not developed. Now that we have the web, smart phones, and all the gadgets we are returning to what true creativity and innovation are – many-to-many cooperation.

Enjoy the World Creativity and Innovation Day!

PS Being cooperative and open is also good for business :)

Open up!

open up

Companies have a tendency to close up. Paradoxically the more successful they are, the more closed they tend to be, trying to protect what they have while focusing all the energy on maintaining the pace. This is exactly when companies should make an effort to open up. Here are 3 small suggestions:

Open calls
Organize open public calls (webinars, Zoom calls, conferences) where anyone can ask you anything, and your experts answer on spot.

Try to partner with a new expert, every month
An expert can be an individual or a company, someone in a new field which is interesting to you. Maybe it works out once a year, but the process itself is inspiring.

Open competitions with rewards
Offer a reward (product, cash, partnership, etc) for a solution to a problem that you have, and promote the competition.

Above suggestion are not only great for innovation and openness, but also for brand positioning and promotion. Your brand will be perceived better and your company will increase interactions and sales, probably at a lower cost than other methods. And if your customers are not reacting to above, then take this as a sign that your brand is loosing its position and you should fix that.

Real digitalization requires real openness

digitalization

Digitalization is an enormous unstoppable change. It was enormous even before the Coronavirus crisis, and is even more accelerated now. Here are some examples of changes:
– Manufacturers that employ hundreds of people in automated factories are less relevant than apps selling their products,
– Olympic gold medalists are less relevant than a Twitch gamers,
– Books and films are less relevant than social media posts,
– Museums and galleries are less relevant than an websites,
– Education and career are less relevant than social media following.

Trend is that new companies are taking over markets by inserting a digital layer in the customer experience. And defending brands are not being open enough to embrace and invest in digitalization. Digitalization is a clear winner, it is unstoppable, and companies which are closed and do not listen to their younger, future, and digital customers, will stop growing and start shrinking.

Openness of a company is a key to hearing, understanding, and satisfying digital needs of their customers. Closed companies tend to listen only to narrow product related feedback. They hear what they want to hear. Open companies adopt a market view beyond the product feedback and listen to nuanced requests.

Do not trust anyone today!

It is April Fool’s Day. You can relax and have some fun. You have other 328 days in a year to be serious, and only today to lower your guard. Humor as well is very liberating, relaxing, and great for openness and innovation. Enjoy it.

Real change happening right now with NFTs

NFT beeple

Like any new technology, blockchain is waiting for new applications which increase its value and market. NFT is a recent blockchain application which is making a boom right now.

NFT allows single digital files to become unique items by connecting them to blockchain. This means that any image, video, and sound file become unique and can not be copied. Content creators, artists, designers, film makers, musicians immediately adopted NFTs motivating creation of dozens of online marketplaces.

I sold a single poem as an NFT for 200 USD, one of our clients made over 200,000 USD for two images, and most successful global sale reached 69 million USD for a single image.

NFTs are doing what every technological innovation must achieve – merging technology with culture and finance. Today’s marketplaces are extremely complex and customers are sophisticated content consumers. This obliges technologies to become a cultural phenomenon with sustainable marketplaces. NFTs are another example that technology without culture and finance offers little value.

Brute force vs open innovation

open innovation vs brute force

Brute force is a growth method used by big multinational companies that can afford it. Brute force is basically buying everything that can be bought – sales people, real estate, advertising, research, data. Big companies have big budgets and they spend a lot to keep the competitors away, maintain status quo, and grow.

For SMBs which can not afford brute force innovation is the only way to grow. However, innovation is also challenging. In most SMBs innovation process is not a predictable system which delivers continuous results but an act of random good will and inspiration.

This is why open innovation is a perfect solution for SMB growth. It allows SMBs to apply a systematic innovation approach which can compete against brute force. The very weaknesses of SMBs – good will, lack of rigid processes, high creativity – become strengths in open innovation. Also big companies traditionally have a hard time to be open or change in any way, while SMBs are automatically open and flexible.

My advice is that SMBs should avoid investing in brute force methods (advertising, sales people) before they adopted open innovation. Their brute force investments will be much more effective when they are more open and have systemic innovation in place.

How to buy innovation?

BUYING INNOVATION

If customers do not buy innovation, there is no innovation. Innovation is getting people to accept new things and there is no better acceptance than buying. However, people love to talk about innovation but really do not know how to buy it. And when they are suddenly in a situation to buy it, they are confused or panic.

If USA fashion industry wants to compete against the Italian one, it needs customers who will buy innovative fashion. USA can not have an Armani, Prada, Versace, or Dolce & Gabbana unless it has customers who are willing to part from an oversized t-shirt and sneakers. If Italian software industry wants to compete against the USA one, it must have companies which seriously evaluate Italian software, buy it, offer feedback, instead of just going for the cheaper USA option.

Without buyers who know how to buy innovation, there is no innovation.

Here are few tips on how to buy innovation:

1. When evaluating innovative products, consider what it solves on a strategic and more conceptual level, beyond the basic price and features list.

2. Dedicate 1 hour a week to interviewing sales people who sell the most innovative products. This will amount to 50 evaluations per year. If more managers do it, the number will increase.

3. Use the most innovative products whenever you can but also prepare a more stable less innovative alternative to minimize the risk.

4. Purchase different innovative products from what your competitors use. This will improve your differentiation.

If you buy innovation, you participate in innovation and you are an innovator. A company which does not buy innovation most likely can not make and sell innovation itself.

Open innovation question: How can we make this better?

open innovation

As companies grow and enter more markets, their customer relationships are more and more narrow, rigid, and automated. Questions asked by companies to their customers are simplified for the sake of more efficient processes and automation. Sales is narrowed down to “Will you buy?” which allows YES or NO answer (e-commerce, call centers), while marketing uses a bigger variety of questions which still offer binary and narrow choices: likes, shares, and rates. Armies of investors, managers, designers, programmers, psychologists, sociologists, and consultants are educated to lower the quality of communication in exchange for quantity.

Open innovation is a return to more human creative communication between companies and customers because it uses questions which can not be reduced. The main question of open innovation is “How can we make this better?” Once we ask or are asked this question we feel a noticeable change in our attitude. It is different, engaging, hopeful, and positive. It makes the communication more fun, instead of making us feel like we are going through a meaningless checklist.

Not all binary communication is bad, but companies that force customers into binary communication way will definitely lose some of its creativity and growth.

Open innovation vs e-commerce

OPEN INNOVATION E-COMMERCE

Both open innovation and e-commerce are major SMB trends. Here is the comparison:

Platforms: e-commerce wins
E-commerce is supported by a bigger range of more mature tools. E-commerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and Prestashop allow easy set up of online shops while marketing platforms like Google Ads and Instagram are e-commerce focused. Open innovation is not supported by such range of tools, and marketing platforms are not optimized for an open cooperation with customers.

Revenue: open innovation wins
E-commerce is easier to set up and grows revenue immediately, but it is limited to switching old customers to new channels and entering new markets with old products. While e-commerce creates substantial growth if a company starts from a low point, it does little for a company with a developed revenue and presence, especially in B2B. Open innovation, on the other hand, creates huge leaps in revenue because it creates highly competitive innovations.

Cost: open innovation wins
E-commerce providers can trick companies with low cost entry level solutions which are actually insufficient. Real costs come later and are higher. E-commerce is mostly based on technology and it requires everything to function perfectly which is costly in both money and time. Open innovation is more of a soft human activity which requires small support from technology, and therefore costs less and is much easier to integrate in culture and processes.

Conclusion: open innovation 2:1 e-commerce
There is no real competition between open innovation and e-commerce. They do not exclude each other, but support each other. Company which uses open innovation will perform better in e-commerce, and a company which uses e-commerce will be better in open innovation. Do both.

Two sides of the same coin: Alex Terzariol & Oliviero Toscani interviews

Alex Terzariol Oliviero Toscani

Andrea and I love interviews and by accident Andrea and I made interesting interviews on the same day. Andrea interviewed Alex Terzariol and I interviewed Oliviero Toscani. Both Alex and Toscani discuss change and innovation in their own terms – Alex as a product designer (a harder product approach) and Oliviero as a communicator (a softer cultural approach). Hope you enjoy them.

 

Andrea interviewed Alex Terzariol, founder of MM design – a global product design firm

 

I interviewed Oliviero Toscani, one of the most influential communicators

Innovation is not a privilege

open innovation

Some companies are treating the ability to innovate as a privilege. Influence on innovation is accessible only to a selected group. Large parts of the team are excluded. Also partners, distributors, and customers can be excluded. Innovation is created by the few.

This is rooted in the idea that the more important something is, the less people should have access to it. While this can make sense in some cases, it is not the best approach for innovation. Innovation is the most customer centric activity in the company. Including few and excluding many is contrary to the very idea of innovation, it increases risk, and lowers ROI.

Internet has brought many ways to include people in company activities. Social media sharing, viral marketing, user generated content, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding are all activities which have a huge ROI by removing privileges and allowing everyone to participate. Innovation is no different, and open innovation is simply a way all innovation will be done soon. Making innovation open by removing its privilege status will lower the risk and increase ROI.

Robinhood vs new customers

Making financial products available to everyone in the world is an inversible trend. Goal is to allow everyone to improve their financial position by offering them more options. For example, people living in an African township can make money by investing in a publicly traded company.

Robinhood was claiming to do this until following happened:
Reddit Wall Street Bets social media community influenced purchases of retailer stocks, like GameStop, aiming to damage hedge funds who were shorting these stocks,
Purchases of these retailer stocks were causing tens of billion USD damage to hedge funds immediately,
Robinhood stopped purchases of these stocks calling it “market volatility”,
– Google deleted negative comments against Robinhood protecting its app rating.

Although they claim technical reasons, it appears that Robinhood is protecting hedge funds, of which some own Robinhood, from their own customers.

The most important innovation question for me is: What happens when customers with a completely different culture and ideology gain influence through change? How will the market leaders react? Robinhood slogan was simple, while Robinhood practice is much more complicated.

Add innovations to Robinhood on openinnovation.me.

Andrea Toniolo interview for Digital Innovators

Andrea Toniolo

Andrea Toniolo, our founder, did a great interview for the Digital Innovators podcast.

Andrea discusses open innovation, its importance, and different approaches.

Listen to the podcast.

Openness is a competitive advantage

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Being open is perceived by customers as a positive thing. It is an equivalent to equality and sustainability – it is a new word which represents something good that customers want to be associated with. No customer wants to be associated with closed, not equal and not sustainable.

However, not every company can be open. Many companies do not have the capacity, skills, and resources to open up to customers, nor to make any changes resulting from that openness. For example, oil companies are heavily dependent on the technology which is hard to change and their business models have no margin for change, which forces them to be closed. Also there are companies with management that sees no value or too much risk in expanding customer relationships.

Therefore, any company which can be open should embrace it, increase it, communicate it, and promote it. This will differentiate that company from others who can not do it. And any form of positive differentiation is a competitive advantage.

Invisible hand of open innovation

open innovation

Open innovation is always present in all companies, but is often not documented, not recognized, informal, and invisible. It always increases growth but is not connected to it – problems are discovered, solutions are designed, partnerships are created in situations which are not connected to open innovation. This usually happens in physical meetings such as sales and fairs.

Now, with the rapid change and digitalization caused by the Coronavirus crisis, companies stopped doing all those informal and invisible things. This is a risk because they are not aware of what is missing, what is lost with the change, and they are not able to replace it. They collected valuable market and innovation knowledge in physical meetings which are not replaced with digital alternatives.

Even if it appears that your company was not using open innovation, you should assume that it had some benefits from the invisible open innovation. In such case adding formal digital open innovation processes and tools now will show results such as increased market knowledge, discovery of new problems, increased cooperations with customers and partners, and finally improvements and additions to the product portfolio.

2021 open innovation todo

Open innovation is not an isolated activity but a new way to do business, to innovate, market, and sell. It is a revolutionary change in marketing and sales which emphasizes the most competitive values of products – innovation. Most importantly, it favors and differentiates companies which have something new to offer over those who do not.

Here are 3 things every company should do in 2021 to adopt open innovation:

Choose an open innovation leader
It is good to have someone who can manage the open innovation adoption across all teams. While bigger companies hire a full time open innovation leaders, smaller companies can assign this responsibility to an existing member, possibly from marketing or sales.

Include product design, marketing, and sales in open innovation
Open innovation should be added to all customer focused activities – product design, marketing, sales. Everyone should be trained and included in open innovation on all levels. Every contact with a customer should be a form of open innovation resulting in customer inclusion and accelerated innovation.

Include open innovation in all communication, marketing, and sales projects
Open innovation is a customer relationship element. Without open innovation customers can only buy and complain. With open innovation they can participate. Feeling of participation is a far more positive experience than just buying and complaining. Companies should include open innovation in all aspects of customer relationships.

Happy New 2021!

Top innovation goals to reach in 2021

2021

There is no doubt that 2021 will be one of the strangest years in history. It combines globalization with multiple crisis: health, economic, and climate. In this situation we are confronted with two options: do nothing or innovate.

Here are the top innovations goals companies should try to reach in 2021:

Health
Beating Covid 19 will remain a high priority goal. There is a lot of room for improvement in prevention, while treatment development just started.

Poverty
While upper class might get richer, middle and especially lower class will suffer. The wealth and growth decrease will set the world population and economies at least a decade back. Such poverty crisis will result in elevated crime, lower labor bargaining power, lower quality and quantity of production. Most importantly purchasing power will be reduced.

Work from home
Even if the pandemic ends, majority of the staff will want to continue working from home. This will affect management, travel, real estate, and many other industries.

Human resources
Health, work from home, poverty, and other factors will disrupt availability of the work force, recruitment, outsourcing, contracting.

Digitalization
Digital tools are a standard. However, many companies adopted digitalization superficially, without any real deep change. Digitalization is a very destructive disruption which will lower the number of competitors in next few years.

Sustainability
Already in 2020 multimillion EUR contracts are rejected simply because suppliers are not sustainable. In 2021 companies not investing in offering sustainable products and operating in a sustainable manner will be more and more isolated and ignored.

Companies in 2021 will be faced with impossible challenges to invest in innovations while their revenues diminish. Companies should now start to talk to each other, build partnerships, share costs, listen to customers, be open and supportive. We have a hard year ahead of us, and an open attitude is a good way to start.

Cybertruck & Cyberpunk 2077

CYBERTRUCK CYBERPUNK 2077

Cybertruck looks different. Cyberpunk 2077 is buggy. Both of these products received a lot of negative comments upon launch. In spite of this, Cybertruck was selling more than 5,000 per day well after the launch, and CD Project Red started profiting within 24 hours of the launch.

The lesson learned is that hate is the same type of emotion as love – it is a form of obsession. Innovation causes strong emotions – both negative and positive which must go together. What innovation does not create is indifference and boredom. If customers are indifferent or bored, then innovation is not working.

When choosing how to innovate, taking a risk to be more extreme is worth it, and negative reactions should also be understood as a component of success. Failure is lack of any emotion.

Do not limit open innovation

If a company communicates more, it will innovate, sell, and grow more. Companies must always make an effort to be open up more. While big brands are automatically overwhelmed by customers, the remaining 99.9 % of the companies should work hard to use every opportunity to attract and talk to customers.

Open innovation will be more open if these limitations are removed or relaxed:
1) Do not restrict who you communicate to,
2) Do not set deadlines,
3) Do not focus on a specific geography,
4) Do not limit to only specific goals,
5) Do not focus on risks, but on rewards.

Examples of open innovation approaches:
Limited: We want German PhD engineer to solve our engine problem by Friday, so we can make more money with it.
Open: We want everyone to tell us their problems or ambitions, at any time, and we will find a way to help them.

The paradox is that while companies are always focused on a niche, they are actually solving general human problems. For example, a solar energy scientist is working to make homes warmer. Product design and engineering are always extremely specialized, but there is no need for open innovation and communication to be specialized as well. By being more open, engineering resources will have a chance to be applied to new problems, allowing bigger innovation leaps and making the company more competitive.

3 steps of open innovation

open innovation steps

Goal of open innovation projects is to provide growth opportunities by discovering new problems, new market entries, new partnerships, new products.

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.

Welcome to the Open Innovation planet

OPEN INNOVATION PLANET

For quite some time now marketing & sales have been distancing itself from creativity and innovation, and rely more on brute force advertising and cold outreach. That trend is being reversed by the Coronavirus crisis.

For some time now companies and customers have been saturated with ads and calls that offer no real or new value. This sentiment has been building up. What else can we do with customers? how else can we use our partners? Open innovation, initially a nerdy idea created to connect high-tech companies to academics, seemed like a good alternative to expand the relationship from “buy from me” to “lets make something good together”. Recently it outgrew its initial idea filling in the creativity void created by programmatic and big customer data cold calling.

Coronavirus crisis drastically accelerated this change. Post-Coronavirus market will require innovation much more than before and open innovation will be its main driver. Understanding the market, understanding the customers, catching the new problems, understanding the new needs, making, marketing, and selling the products to solve them will be the major strategic goal of all successful companies.

Just pushing the old products down customer’s throats with tons of ads and cold LinkedIn messages will not work. Post-Coronavirus market will be like landing on a new planet – everything needs to be reinvented, and the best tool for that is asking questions.

We are openinnovation.me

openinnovation.me

Open innovation will be one of the most dominant growth strategies in the coming decade. Companies that adopt it will discover problems and solutions faster than those that do not. Our goal is to provide the best all inclusive tools for companies to openly innovate with customers, experts, partners, and employees.

For this reason we have rebranded our platform from BEMinnovate.com to openinnovation.me.

Company apps have been moved from BEMapps.com to apps.openinnovation.me.

Blog has been moved to blog.openinnovation.me.

For more information email Andrea Toniolo at andrea@openinnovation.me.

10 innovation ideas generated in 10 minutes

10 innovation ideas generated in 10 minutes

Outsourcing rebranded as remote work staffing.
There is no difference between outsourced and remote team members anymore. This means that outsourcing will have an accelerated growth. Companies can offer remote staff to other companies as an added service on top of their products and services. The ideological barrier of physical presence is removed which opens up many opportunities.

Remote work training
Training people remotely is not more difficult, but it is new and needs to be figured out. We had centuries to perfect how to train people in person. Now we have months to figure out how to train train pilots, bus drivers, crane operators, chemical engineers, police officers, and many others remotely.

Remote education of children
Educating children has been rapidly changed globally within months. Never before has such education reform been effected. Tools and methods used now are far from perfect and remote education innovation is just starting. Educating children should not only deal with learning but also with social and happiness aspects.

Non stop virtual rooms for companies
Current meeting tools such as Zoom and Skype are based on the concept of calls and meetings. Meetings require full presence and are an interruption. While these tools can be hacked and used as virtual work rooms, they are not actually made as such. There is a need of virtual rooms which allow constant communication and cooperation which is not based on meetings.

Integration of services and products
Access to services will be reduced by lack of physical presence and by increased number of failed service providers. Companies should keep adding services on top of their current offering to make sure that their products can be easily integrated and used.

Cross-industry collaborations
Access to new markets is not geographical but also industry based. New markets can be reached through cooperation with companies in other industries. Cross-industry collaborations and partnership offer an enormous potential in innovation and growth.

Specific domain search engines
Google is dominantly a consumer search engine catering to the needs of average individuals. Amazon, Alibaba, and others are search engines focused on specific products. While there are many portals and databases of products, there is still a huge need of easy to use search solutions for many specific domain names.

Home swapping
With remote work people might decide to exchange their homes with someone else in order to experience living in another area. Home swapping is simpler than renting out your home and renting a new home. It simplifies the exchange catering to the new nomad workforce.

Sustainable IT
IT is an often forgotten industry when it comes to sustainability, while in fact it can play a huge role. Company and personal IT are replaced too often, seldom repaired, but used by everyone. Reducing the need for constant purchasing of new IT products, repairing the current ones, can make IT companies more competitive.

Big data integration
Big data can make or break companies. Companies that do not use big data will definitely fail with increase of remote work. Big data is the main driver behind virtual sales. Offering big data for SMBs and niche industries will definitely be a valuable product in coming years – for companies which are prepared to use it.

Open innovation leadership style

OPEN INNOVATION LEADER

Open innovation should be a whole company attitude which includes top and bottom. It should be reflected in all types of leadership. Here are the main qualities of the open innovation leadership style:

Leader wants to listen more, not to be listened to more
There are two types of leaders: those who are listening and providing a service to the team, and those who expect the team to provide a service to them. To apply open innovation, leaders should try to practice listening and doing what team and customers want. Belief in own superiority and lack of trust towards the team and customers will not create an open culture.

Leader focuses on customer centric goals, instead of internal ones
Nothing kills innovation faster than focusing on internal goals like finance, legal, IT management, human resources, etc. A leader must reach these goals as well, but must always remain focused on customers. Leadership which focuses on internal goals only without considering customers will make the company less open, more focused on itself, and less competitive.

Leader takes risks, and gets better at taking them
Open innovation is a risk taking strategy. Opening up means going outside safety boundaries established by decades of errors. A leader which takes less risks is actually taking the biggest risk – not being open and not innovating. Open innovation leader will take risks and learn how to manage the team and customers through errors.

Leading teams through open innovation requires listening, customer focus, and taking risks. These skills can be learned easily if the leader is motivated.

Remote work is not bad for innovation

remote work is not bad for innovation

“Home working had probably reduced his capacity for creative thought. Informal chats at work were often more useful than formal meetings.” are statements by Andy Haldane, Bank of England’s chief economist. He added that “creativity was important because it fostered innovation, which in turn fueled economic growth”. He is wrong to conclude that remote work is bad for innovation. Here is why:

1) Innovation is fueled by team creativity, but creativity is not fueled by physical presence. Big part of creativity, inventions, and innovation happens without physical presence. Scientific research is a good example.

2) Haldane is expressing his own limitation which does not reflect the real global trend. He holds a top banking position which unfortunately is not a position of high innovation and change, but of status quo. Reality is that during the pandemic, remote work and innovation have grown drastically together.

3) Innovation methods for remote teams have been available for decades and even centuries, with results far greater than any single bank produced. My favorites are early 20th century circular letters.

4) Lack of requirement for physical presence allows companies to engage talent which is not accessible physically. This makes the innovation process more inclusive and diverse. Limiting innovation to physically present talent is exclusive and closed.

Remote work is most likely to remain a lasting change after the Coronavirus crisis. Germany, for example, is already adopting remote work as a basic work right. Major companies have committed to remote work as a standard.

While adopting remote work companies must maintain competitiveness by innovating. To do so they must look beyond old and closed methods such as physical meetings, but must work to find new solutions. There is no better test for a company to show how innovative and adaptable it is, than how it handles remote work.