Author Archives: Kevin McFarthing

Giving Open Innovation a Chance to Work

I have the impression that Open Innovation still does not get the chance its potential deserves. There are many reasons for this. They range from overly generous definitions that enable companies to point to a small number of activities and then tick the Open Innovation box, to the success of Not Invented Here syndrome.

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The Portfolio is the Innovation Dashboard

As I’ve written before, the portfolio is the pivotal tool for innovation. It provides the link to corporate strategy; ensures the desired balance across different innovation horizons; enables and communicates priorities; and with the appropriate communication it reports progress towards innovation goals. It is this final point that I would now like to explore.

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Integrating Open Innovation at Tate & Lyle

Tate & Lyle is a large B2B company focused on speciality food ingredients. They have placed a large emphasis on innovation as a key source of future growth, with a pivotal role for open innovation (OI) and complementary roles for OI partnerships and venture capital initiatives. I had the chance recently to interview Dr John Stewart, Director of Open Innovation, to learn more about their integrated program.

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Collaborative Comes Before Open

Open Innovation seeks to expand innovation potential by accessing ideas, technology, products or routes to market from outside a company’s borders. There are many ways to do this, from technology scouting through competitions to crowdsourcing. Much has been written about the different options available to companies, which includes competencies, but it seems that there is relatively little about the mindset and approach.

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Making Time for Innovation

A very good friend of mine works for a large, global company with multiple locations around the world, many of which are run as “hot desks”. He is in a position of responsibility, and often finds himself travelling to a different destination on the other side of the world at short notice. It’s the kind of business where looking for ways to innovate is very important..

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