Innovation is a strategic issue for the competitiveness and sustainability of companies, especially in a constantly changing and sometimes challenging economic context. Companies have always relied on their own research and development to innovate, but this approach has become inadequate in the face of the speed and complexity of technological and market changes. This is why more and more companies are adopting open innovation, which consists in opening up their external ecosystem to co-create and participate in projects.
Openness to the outside allows companies to access specific expertise and / or technologies, to improve their time to market and to offer distinctive solutions in a shorter period and more suitable for target markets. This approach modifies the management of innovation at all stages of its process, with the logic of partnership rather than the relationship between customer and supplier.
The different means of open innovation
To practice open innovation, there are several ways. There are idea contests or calls for projects that allow community mobilization to solve a problem or generate new ideas. Suggestion boxes, portals, and corporate social networks can be used to allow employees to brainstorm ideas and collaborate with others at work. Partnerships with entrepreneurs, incubators, schools and universities can also provide access to specific expertise, technologies or resources. There is also a corporate venture, which consists of investments in startups to gain access to new technologies and new markets. Innovation MeetUps, which are informal meetings between innovation professionals, can be a source of inspiration and collaboration for companies. Depending on their needs and ecosystem, companies can choose to use one or more of these approaches to practicing open innovation.
This collaborative approach to innovation, co-creation and co-development with its ecosystem requires creating a framework and acquiring flexible legal tools for optimal collaboration between companies and their partners.
Startups, innovation accelerators
Startups have become major players in the business innovation environment, thanks to their agility, creativity, and ability to quickly implement innovative ideas. They can offer specific expertise, disruptive technology, or even distinct solutions. So companies can benefit from the skills and resources of startups by establishing partnerships or collaborations, which can also help them reduce the risks associated with innovation. For their part, startups can benefit from the company’s experience and reputation, as well as its financial and human resources. Partnerships between companies and startups can also contribute to the revitalization of the local ecosystem by promoting the emergence of new solutions and new market opportunities in a pre-defined area. However, it is important to stress that cooperation between companies and startups requires adjustments and compromises so that both parties can benefit from this relationship between two structures that can be opposed by everything.
Startup Competition, Winning Leverage
One way to practice open innovation is to organize a startup competition. It can take various forms, such as hackathons, idea contests, presentations, or even innovation challenges. These competitions consist of inviting entrepreneurs and project leaders to submit innovative proposals on a specific topic.
They allow companies to promote the emergence of new ideas and new projects, and to find innovative solutions. They can also scout new talent, and possibly partner with selected startups.
For their part, startups present their projects to a wider audience and benefit from increased visibility, and can get financing or have the opportunity to work with a large company or get support in their commercial development and networking. Occasionally provides access to incubators and accelerators.
Open competitions for startups have multiplied in recent years. Startups must be careful not to get distracted at the expense of developing their company. They must select competitions according to the themes, territories, partners and runners-up that match their ambition, DNA and products.
Startup Competition Example: Next Innov by BPRI
Banque Populaire Rives de Paris recently organized its first edition of the #NextInnovBPRI competition, a regional version of the annual competition organized by Banque Populaires to encourage innovation and startups in the B2B sector.
Startups can apply for one of the two categories offered: improving business performance and innovative products and services for the benefit of protecting the environment.
The competition took place in several stages: the first stage consisted of a presentation of the startup, its market, its team, and its solution, then the finalists presented their solution during the final, on March 14, in front of the jury of innovation and banking professionals.
Awards ceremony for this 1time The edition was held on March 30th. laWEbox startup won 1any in the business performance improvement category. Their HR app improves your teams compliance, by adopting and embedding good practices with daily impact
For its part, the startup Qarnou won the first placeany Award in the category of innovative environmental protection products and services. Their solution makes it possible to deliver high-performance computing power and use the heat emitted by microprocessors for digital radiators or digital boilers.
The CSR signal was also given to the startup Ambler, as if to emphasize the fact that startups will play a major role in transforming the economy towards more sustainable and responsible models, by proposing innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, or promote circularity. Resources, or encourage more responsible consumption.
Through various mechanisms of cooperation with startups, companies encourage innovation and startups by providing them with the necessary resources and conditions to flourish. This means incubation and acceleration programs, financing and partnerships with startups that can in return bring them new dynamism and help them digitalize and reinvent themselves.
The Banque Populaire Rives de Paris #NextInnov competition is an inspiring example of the companies’ commitment to innovation and startups.
Les entreprises ont tout à gagner: les start-up sont souvent à l’avant-garde de l’innovation, car elles ont la flexibilité et l’agilite necessaires to explorer of the new marchés, tester of new technologies and development of new models d ‘Affairs. They are often carried by passionate entrepreneurs, striving to solve tangible problems, meet unmet needs, or create new markets.
Finally, for the partnership to be successful, the company will have to change its culture and attitude and permanently embed open innovation in its DNA. Real work must be done to preach.
Companies must recognize the importance of this open innovation approach and this cultural shift necessary to maintain and enhance their competitive edge.