I have previously written about co-innovation partnerships, outlining the basics here and sharing some key rules here. In this blog post, I would like to share some additional tips to get you started and invite you to learn more about building successful co-innovation partnerships at Forrester’s Tech Leaders Summit, August 18, 2022, in Singapore.

Getting Started With Co-Innovation Requires Some Homework

Let’s face it: Conventional organizational structures and well-worn team paths are normally not a fertile ground for creativity and innovation. So try something a little bit (or maybe completely) different. Understand that you have to create an environment where it’s safe to take risks. For inspiration, reach out to your co-innovation partner for successful case studies and blueprints. Look for passionate leaders with a collaborative mindset, communication skills, and a curiosity to experiment. Your co-innovation partner can help you identify people with the right potential and establish a proven onboarding process. The goal is to unleash creativity — these teams are created with an opportunity to make an impact!

Be Clear On Value And Purpose

But it’s not a free pass for all. A key challenge with all “experimental lab” approaches is the connection (or, rather, the lack of any connection) to value to the business, besides being a novelty act. Avoid that trap of “no path to business value” right from the start, and tie together your organization’s brand promise, your business objectives and key results (OKRs), and the team’s key performance indiactors (KPIs). These OKRs are your guardrails preventing you from falling off track into the “perpetually pending” pit. This is where your co-innovation partner comes to your rescue. Their methodologies feature approaches and processes to continuously measure the value and alignment of each initiative. They have you covered from initial brainstorming to setting up investment boards to realizing continuous value orchestration. Brainstorm ideas, but never forget to reality-check them!

Align Your Approach With Five Competencies Critical For Driving Innovation

My esteemed colleague Bernhard Schaffrik has outlined five competencies that organizations must develop to become successful at implementing and executing transformative ideas. Competency building benefits greatly from your co-innovation partner’s expertise. This is where their experience shines! And they have experts on hand to help you build out your innovation core competencies:

  • Innovation strategy: taking an outside-in perspective to what your organization is facing in terms of opportunities and challenges.
  • Innovation culture: helping turn great ideas into tangible and measurable business outcomes.
  • Structure: helping to solidify more reliable long-term innovation capabilities.
  • An innovation ecosystem: enabling the idea exchange with customers and partners in real time.
  • Investigating and applying technology: leveraging established and emerging technology to drive innovation initiatives.

Learn From Co-Innovation Success Stories By Toyo Tires, Asian Development Bank, And Others

The best way to map out your journey to co-innovation success is to learn from others who have been walking this path successfully. Please join me at Forrester’s 2022 Tech Leader Summit on August 18 in Singapore to hear exciting examples about how:

  • TOYO Tires has leveraged co-innovation to future-proof its business model.
  • Asian Development Bank has innovated with digital services to better serve its members.

I am very much looking forward to welcoming you at the event — there will be plenty of time to ask questions and discuss perspectives!


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If you’d like to discuss how this affects you and your organization, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call with me.