11 December 2014

Open innovation for everyone

Text: Jessica Sicking

The London agency, 100% Open, has just launched a new website giving visitors the opportunity to gain access to its entire collection of methods and tools for the innovation process. The website provides a well-structured overview of the various stages along the way to an innovative result – be it products, service or strategy – and does not only offer free access to numerous documents but also includes detailed explanations for use. In return, the team behind 100% Open only expects its users to share their personal experiences of the toolkit so that their own processes can be further optimised. We spoke to David Simoes-Brown, the co-founder of 100% Open, about the new innovation toolkit.


Which personal benefit does your agency 100% Open gain by providing a website with all its knowledge and methods to the public? 


A good question. On a philosophical level we believe that productive partnerships are based on a process of Give and Get. Note that Give comes first, before Get. So the 100% Open Toolkit is our Give and we are aiming to Get new business.

On a business level there are two reasons. First, we are trying to grow the market. This market is a new type of innovation that relies on collaboration between companies, called open innovation. So we are hoping our tools will become a type of DIN standard for this new industry. Second, the 100% Open Toolkit is designed to be a “freemium” offer. People can access all the tools free but there are added services that are chargeable.



What is the main target group you are aiming at with the website?


We aim at people in large multinational companies who are responsible for innovating products, services, communications or anything else. They will normally be found in research and development, innovation, design, human resources or marketing departments. Secondly our network of 100% Open associates is of interest. Our company operates as a global network of practitioners and the 100% Open Toolkit acts as a cultural artefact that binds us together.



In what way are you trying to succeed in allowing professionals and beginners at the same time to use your website and its tools? What are you doing to prevent application errors?


For innovation professionals we are hoping to demonstrate exactly how open innovation works and give them confidence in the methodology and practice. For beginners the tools also act as a “how to” to open innovation and will enable them to construct their own strategies and programmes. For application errors: We want them! Often the best innovations come from mistakes. This is how the toolkit will grow and improve as long as people feed back their experiences to us. 


How does your website differ from other already existing innovation tools?


It focuses entirely on innovation in partnerships. There are lots of resources on, say, idea generation and we credit some of these on our site. But there are no resources on how to innovate together in a more connected world. Also, the site shows everything in detail and gives a practical work example of each step. We have designed the user journey to follow questions that a user will have rather than taking a tool-centric approach. 



On the website you promote the slogan “None of us is as strong as all of us” – how are you making use of the community aspect and what developments do you expect for the future in this domain?


100% Open is in effect a series of networks: associates who work with us, other agencies with whom we partner, a global community of 250,000 innovators and a client community of 1,000 big companies. Our business is run as a community and will continue in this way. For large companies, we have an informal innovators club called Union. This meets quarterly in London and Geneva and we are aiming to expand it to the US, Canada, South America and the Far East. Using this approach we want to grow our associate and partner network, too.  


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