Leaders at NineSigma Conference Agree: Open Innovation Is Not an Option, But a Competitive Necessity
CLEVELAND, May 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — From Hallmark Cards, which invented augmented-reality greeting cards to improve its top line, to General Motors, which partnered with NASA to develop a robotic assistant to supplement human activity, the message is clear: collaborating on innovation is not an option; it’s a competitive necessity.
That was the consensus among innovation executives who spoke during NineSigma‘s Open Innovation (OI) Leadership Summit in Arlington, Virginia last week. Executives from these companies, as well as Allergan, Centers for Disease Control, DSM, Eastman, Eaton Corporation, NASA, Natura, PepsiCo, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Schlumberger, TerraCycle, Under Armour, and Unilever were among those participating. Innovation leaders from a broad range of industries had the chance to network with their peers, while addressing critical challenges associated with Open Innovation, including culture change, speed to market, public-private partnerships, OI leadership development, and IP management.
“NineSigma’s Open Innovation conference was superb — the best I’ve attended,” said Jonathan Hague, Vice President, Open Innovation, Unilever. “The caliber of participants and the quality of the content were exceptional, and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to network with so many like-minded Open Innovation leaders.”
“Although the innovation needs of our clients vary significantly, there are many common leadership issues that can be addressed quite effectively in this type of forum,” said Andy Zynga, Chief Executive Officer, NineSigma. “Seeing the diversity of the companies represented and witnessing the breadth of NineSigma capabilities clients are using today prompted many of the attendees to walk away with a new perspective on how end-to-end solutions can help drive value throughout their organization. To achieve the desired outcomes of increased growth and profitability, Open Innovation programs must seamlessly integrate people, process and technology. Enabling such programs for clients is what we invested heavily in during the past few years. We were thus pleased to provide a platform to be able to share the next generation of best practices in this area.”
Open Innovation is now a key enabler of businesses’ overall strategies, helping them to stay ahead of the competition, go to market with new products faster, and improve financial performance. For example, Hallmark was able to create an entirely new category of augmented-reality greeting cards and bring it to market in a few short months by using the technology found through the NineSigma process. The strategy allows innovation practitioners to connect and collaborate with those who have the best capabilities, or acquire the technology and market intelligence necessary to determine new strategic directions.
Many firms, however, still lack “Open Innovation readiness,” according to Dr. Frank Piller, Professor of Management and Director of the RWTH Technology and Innovation Management Group, RWTH Aachen University, who has extensively researched the topic. In his presentation, Dr. Piller referenced a pilot project with a German industry association in which NineSigma was selected as the service provider of choice. NineSigma ultimately delivered results that positively surprised participating member firms. “One of the learnings was that enabling organizations to succeed with Open Innovation requires passionate, focused Open Innovation leaders, buy-in from employees and management, and realistic timeframes and budgets,” Piller added.
During the conference, NineSigma honored several client leaders who have become champions for Open Innovation with the Excellence in Collaborative Innovation Award:
- Dick van Beelen, Director, Open Innovation, AkzoNobel NV
- Christophe Mangin, Director, R&D Global Strategy, General Motors
- Hajime Nagai, Executive General Manager, R&D Planning Division, Suntory Holdings
- Katja van der Wal, Director Open Innovation, Philips Consumer Lifestyle
- Michael Wynblatt, Vice President, Engineering Technology, Eaton Corporation
NineSigma will be helping leaders to evaluate their companies’ Open Innovation capabilities through a new benchmark report being offered in early July. The report is based on the results of NineSigma’s Open Innovation Scorecard. For more information, please go to http://www.ninesigma.com/OIscorecard.aspx.
NineSigma helps Global 1000 companies and other innovation-driven entities Engage with the global innovation community and Enable their organizations to more effectively adopt external knowledge and resources. Companies such as Kraft, Philips, L’Oreal, Unilever, Denso and Suntory utilize NineSigma’s Open Innovation services to solve immediate challenges, fill product pipelines and integrate new knowledge and capabilities into their organizations. NineSigma has the largest open global network of solution providers and an extensive database of existing solutions that spans all industries and technical disciplines. The company has operations in the United States, Europe and Asia. Learn more about NineSigma at http://www.ninesigma.com/.
Dawn Ringel, Warner Communications – firstname.lastname@example.org, (781) 449-8456