Last week, I introduced what open innovation was and how it could help identify problems. There were some very good comments about the multiple ways an open innovation portal could be configured to do identify problems in a multitude of settings (including paying a parking ticket); however, this is only the first part of the process. Now, it’s time for Week 2, and the second way open innovation can transform your agency is by…Building Solutions.
The notion of ‘Building Solutions’ implies the ability to take the identified problems, build conceptual ideas around them and grow them into something more actionable. One of the main challenges in doing so involves which process is used to manage the ideas.
Let’s say a citizen has an idea or suggestion for your agency? What happens to it using the current process?
Current Process: In most cases,when an idea or suggestion is received, it’s most likely forwarded to a superior for their consideration. If the superior likes the idea, it’s probably assigned to an employee to research in their free-time; only to fall victim to the already overwhelming day-to-day duties of the employee. Now, if the employee finds the time to research the idea, then it’s time to consider how to build the idea to the point of implementation. In this example, the burden of the entire process falls on the employee or employees of a given agency.
Here’s an overview of the current process:
Open Innovation Process: The idea or suggestion would first be submitted on a dedicated portal or channel for ideas. The idea would then be vetted by the community (employees or citizens), also giving other members an opportunity to add-on to the idea. Next, the idea must be considered by the department it pertains to and either implemented, aborted (with a transparent reason why) or sent back to an earlier stage for clarification. In this example, the burden of the entire process is distributed and shared by the community, which takes the idea from concept to solution.
Here’s an overview of the open innovation model:
How does it help?
Open innovation distributes the work it requires to build a solution out of an idea. Instead of only employees being tasked with idea development; you can distribute the workload to citizens and other employees to be active participants in the process. In the coming weeks, I’ll discuss more about the behavior sciences that can be leveraged to motivate and reward participation in the process.
What do you think? What happens to incoming ideas in your agency?