Harnessing ideas that matter for business success

Brilliant business ideas are in demand more than ever as the global economic crisis is pushing companies to try and recapture lost business.

During a downturn as well as in economically stale periods, ‘open innovation’ is often pursued as a means to create new value pools.

Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, HP and Microsoft have all espoused the merits of drawing on ideas from both inside and outside their company.

Traditionally, new business development processes and the marketing of new products took place within the firm boundaries, according to Christine Webster Moore, Head of Strategy and Networking, New Business Solutions for Best Buy Company, Inc.

Webster will be a speaker at the marcus evans 5th Annual Open Innovation Conference being held on April 11-13, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA.

She says that the need to broaden networks, partner differently and work differently in order to create new pools of value for customers, employees and shareholders is what’s driving open innovation.

The willingness to move beyond the comfort zone is imperative when embracing what open innovation can offer, she says.

We know that in order for Best Buy to continue to grow and thrive as an organization, we need to move beyond our current lines of businesses and bring the things we are great at – our stores and store teams, our online experience, our services engine, our brand – to new industries and spaces like health and wellness, home and energy management and transportation.

“We recognize we will be successful only if we tap into outside networks, ways of thinking and business models to help us chart the course.”

In order to assess the effectiveness of its innovation efforts, Best Buy uses a growth portfolio, or funnel, to track initiatives, she explains.

“Our initiatives are categorized as ideas/concepts, experiments, ventures, and businesses. We have different measures of success for each stage of the funnel moving from questions like, “Does the customer care and like this effort?” in the concept phase to “Are we sure this will make money at scale?” in the venture stage. This approach gives us flexibility to try a range of things in our efforts to drive growth, quickly accelerate the things that are working, and decommission the things that aren’t.”

To ensure collaborative engagement is successful, Webster Moore recommends focusing on creating a culture and leadership expectations that reward innovation, collaboration and reaching outside of what is known, comfortable and expected. Hold up people and stories that illustrate these characteristics as ‘bright spots’. Keep recognizing and rewarding until it becomes more of an expectation.”

The marcus evans 5th Annual Open Innovation Conference will be held on April 11-13, 2011 at The Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia, PA