You might run the best company in the world. Your staff are dedicated, your customers are plentiful, and you keep growing every month. However, if you do run such a business, there’s a good chance that not every single smart person in the world works at your company. In fact, that would be most likely. However, despite this being true for every company ever created, all too often they look inwards for innovative ideas, when the answers might be with someone outside of the company. Rejecting convention and looking outside your own bubble is known as open innovation, and it can help you with issues that require creative solutions. There are several ways to create an environment of open innovation, with one of the more popular ones being leveraging social media. More and more companies are adapting this approach, and in recent years there has been an increased demand for open innovation platforms. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Open Innovation?
Even though the concept of open innovation has been around for centuries, it is still not the dominant method to produce innovative ideas. Traditionally, companies have their own staff to create products and manage them for growth. Think of an internal research and development team that produces prototypes for their company to sell. All of these ideas are internal and not shared with the outside world, and they are generally considered confidential.
Open innovation is the exact opposite. It involves taking advantage of the expertise in the public or other external partners to generate new ideas. Outside influences can help a business reach their goals and provide another perspective to creative and managerial processes. The goal is that by reaching out to more people, the more ideas there will be to help create something better. Information is often shared amongst all of the partners rather than kept in a closed system.
What Are Open Innovation Platforms and Who Uses Them?
You as a business owner or marketer might think that open innovation sounds pretty good, but you might have no idea where to start. This is where open innovation platforms come in. They help to connect those who are looking for help with innovation to those who might have solutions. These platforms can vary in what they do. Some help to connect a company with the public and streamline those ideas to create a cohesive project. Others connect small innovative companies to each other or to larger companies to share and collaborate. Others work as social media platforms to create engagement and spread the word while also filtering ideas and dates into a cohesive workflow. Large companies, small businesses, marketers, and even freelancers can use open innovation platforms in some way since there are such a wide range from which to choose.
How Social Media Can Help Those Who Do Open Innovation
We’ve all come to learn how powerful social media can be to engage and communicate with customers and the general public. However, it is also an amazing tool if you are looking to open innovation for a project. The ability to use social media to connect is precisely why it is so valuable. It can be used to crowdsource ideas for improving anything about your company, from new products, to logos, and even to content on your website. Many companies have found great success with social media driven contests asking for new flavors of food or drink, or names of new products. This not only helps with innovation, but also finds an engaging and fun way for your customers and the public to interact with your brand.
Social media can also help you with research and data collection about public perception of your brand and products, as well as those of your competitors. You can monitor what people are saying online about your industry, and also get a sense of the things that your customers are interested in besides your product. This will help guide your decision-making process to come up with more effective ways to market to your target audience. It is almost like indirect open innovation, since your audience is not actively engaging in the process.
Companies can also use their social media followers to do their marketing for them. This means creating content that users will share to spread your brand and gain more followers. Word of mouth is effective marketing, and the world of thousands or even millions of mouths on social media can be incredibly powerful. By building trust and engaging with your followers, you can create an environment where they are willing to share content that your brand produces to help you grow.
As a company, harnessing the power of open innovation can help to drive your growth and lead you to new successes. There is a world full of innovators out there, and all you have to do is connect.