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Introduction to the Open Innovation Marketplace

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The authors of The Open Innovation Marketplace introduce the strategic practice of Challenge Driven Innovation, which reframes the innovation and business process in light of the many new channels and partnerships available and helps guide innovation leaders at all levels in the selection of those channels.
This chapter is from the book
  • "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."
  • Damon Runyon

Placing Bets

The proclivity to bet on the "swift" might serve you well, especially when it comes to placing bets at the racetrack. But in a new and complex world, few people actually know what "swift" or "strong" means in every context. For example, an executive may know what a "strong" market analyst or a "strong" manufacturing department head looks like when it comes to hiring someone. Yet that same executive might find it hard to identify a "strong" pharmacokineticist, which is a new, highly specialized branch of pharmacology. Indeed, it's because of this difficulty that universities issue PhDs in pharmacokinetics. You can assume that if people have a PhD, they are certified as "strong," even if you can't make that assessment on your own.

But in today's heavily connected world, what if, instead of relying on handicappers like universities to help you improve your odds, you could sometimes place your bets after the race is run? Wouldn't this render measurements of "swift and strong" utterly moot? After all, you would know who WON. Not who might have won or even should have won but who actually won. This contrarian notion is one of several at the heart of this book and will be further developed as the numerous present-day channels, or modalities, of innovation are elaborated and how you can more effectively make these choices and manage them.

Who is this book for? It is directed to the decision makers who are ultimately accountable for driving business performance and innovation in their organizations. These leaders have many different titles and specific roles. They are CEOs, company founders, chief scientific officers, foundation directors, government agency heads, and policy makers, to name a few. They run an equally broad range of entities, from a not-for-profit foundation seeking cures for orphan diseases, to a corporate business unit bringing a new product to market, to a government agency seeking breakthroughs to better provide security for its citizens.

Innovation processes and approaches are undergoing significant change—in business, in philanthropy, and in government. A new lexicon is emerging to describe these changes: terms such as, open innovation, crowdsourcing, prize philanthropy, public-private partnerships, broadcast search, and so on. Through years of practitioner experience with real-world clients, the authors have developed an approach that we call Challenge Driven Innovation (CDI) which is the focus of Part I. CDI brings an approach and rigor. It reframes the innovation and business process in light of the many new channels and partnerships available. And, it helps guide innovation leaders at all levels in the selection of those channels. This is an approach with enough precision to drive innovation, but agile enough to create value everywhere in the organization. We believe that organizations that adopt CDI pervasively essentially virtualize the enterprise and will have an even greater opportunity to drive business performance and market leadership in the twenty-first century. We call that vision the Challenge Driven Enterprise (CDE), the focus of Part II.

What can a business expect from the full adoption and strategic practice of Challenge Driven Innovation? Nothing less than the following:

  • More cost effective problem solving
  • A greater diversity of approaches to innovation
  • Better management of risk
  • Not reinventing the wheel
  • Accelerated innovation
  • Ability to pay for results and not just efforts
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