Open Innovation facilitators inside companies

Henrik Stamm Kristensen

I found this interesting publication on Open Innovation, written by Michael Flynn. Flynn is director of Technology and Innovation Platform Organization at SAP Labs and the title of his work is “A Framework for Open Innovation”.

The article includes some guidelines to accelerate innovation through Open Innovation. One of the interesting aspects it refers to are the Open Innovation facilitators.

Currently, the great challenge of Open Innovation is still companies openness. Some roles inside organizations can help. Thus, the author lists four types that would aid a company to pass from occasional practitioner of Open Innovation to an industry leader.


Four Open Innovation facilitators

  • External Brokers: They mediate between the enterprise and the outside world. With vision, passion, and talent for networking and decision-making, they have communication skills and persistence. They combine deep expertise with interest and engagement in diverse business areas. They can drive a cultural change in organizations and connect functional groups within it.
  • Internal Brokers: This profile knows the organization very well and a lot of people involved. They manage different communication channels and can facilitate the exchange of information across the company. They connect functions and business units.
  • Scouts: Managers and senior technical experts fit here. They work to identify future trends and technologies outside the company. Scouts have a consulting position and are less involved in operational business than the other two roles.
  • Champions: The senior leaders. Champions own an overall portfolio of innovation projects and they execute the collaboration with external resources. This is the best position to incorporate Open Innovation into the companies’ DNA.

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