Last week, Launcht sat in the Innocentive Webinar, “Key Observations and Best Practices from the Frontlines: Syngenta’s Open Innovation Journey.” The webinar featured Dr. Joe Byrum, the Global Head of Soybean Seeds and Traits R&D at Syngenta.
Innocentive is a leader in open innovation and crowdsourcing. The platform gives organizations access to talent around the world, more than 275,000 problem solvers. Organizations do not pay for use of the platform, but rather, they pay for the results – breakthrough ideas and solutions. Syngenta, an Innocentive partner, is an agricultural firm based in Switzerland with over 26,000 employees in 90 countries. The company has been a leader in encouraging innovation both internally and externally. The keynote speaker of the event, Dr. Byrum, offered advice on how to support and craft successful open innovation initiatives.
Dr. Byrum highlighted the importance and power of crowdsourcing to spread ideas and gain knowledge. The open innovation program at Syngenta allows for the flow of ideas both internally and externally. Internally, organizations should encourage and actively solicit ideas across groups and departments through use of discussion boards, open meetings, and idea challenges. By crowdsourcing ideas internally, organizations will be able to build a strong culture and mindset. If a company cannot foster internal collaboration and innovation, it will not be successful doing so externally. External contributions are extremely valuable because they offer unique ideas that help the company compete differently.
If thought and time are placed into setting up a crowdsourcing campaign, it can offer many benefits –companies and organizations can come up with solutions to their problems without spending much money. Dr. Byrum emphasized with open innovation, “you get what you ask for.” It is extremely important to define the problem and craft the right questions. Leaders must break down the problem into multiple pieces so that it can be actionable. Often, it takes multiple tries to run a successful crowdsourcing campaign within a company, especially as leaders are learning the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. The key, however, is to empower workers and encourage participation.
An organization’s ability to adapt and embrace open innovation principles is essential to its success. Open innovation and crowdsourcing should not be a one-time campaign, but an ongoing process. In order for it to be sustainable, it needs to be absorbed into the culture and day-to-day activities.