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Today, more than ever, customers from different organizations are able to engage in the development and use of “things” that companies have to sell or propose that may end up becoming co-creators.

We can say that co-creation with customers (collaborative creation) is open innovation with customers, but it is not the same freedom offered to customers as a revolution of thoughts, desires and needs or want.

There are limits! There are boundaries! There are directions!

Most often there is almost always a set of constraints and legal, environmental, economic or social barriers.

Co-creation is not a clear path for everyone and everything. Organizations and their leaders establish a strategic line and define the boundaries of performance and possible contours for successful interaction.

We can create value by employing creativity, knowledge, experience and skills of people (internal and external to the organization) but for that we have to respect certain rules and principles.

Venkat Ramaswamy and Francis Gouillart describe “The four principles of co-creation” that is a great starting point to a successful path in co-creation. They say:

1 – “Stakeholders won’t wholeheartedly participate in customer co-creation unless it produces value for them, too.

2 – The best way to co-create value is to focus on the experiences of all stakeholders.

3 – Stakeholders must be able to interact directly with one another.

4 – Companies should provide platforms that allow stakeholders to interact and share their experiences”.


Although these principles are a good starting point, because they are liberators, they don’t cease, however, to provoke some questions which I leave open:

How to motivate stakeholders to participate?

If employees feel threatened, how can we create value and avoid value destruction?

On the other hand we know that the sharing of experiences of all stakeholders promotes a deeper understanding of the issues and the interactions developed could enhance the experiences of all.

So how can we develop and maintain a desirable dynamic in interactions?

Co-creation is certainly a way that organizations must go but this also requires an agile processes and rapid learning cycles that the available platforms should allow.

The interactions that occur in co-creation with customers should also, in a agile and clear way, serve to correct deviations from the objectives and clarify the boundaries of performance.

So I like to think that some of the assumptions for moving ideas to services or successful products are:

The possibility of technical implementation of an idea (feasibility).

There is technology available to realize this idea?

The organization is prepared for execution?

The time required for its implementation fits the organization’s guidelines?

The economic viability.

Does the result fit the client’s budget?

Does the result fit the organization’s goals?

The return on investment is it satisfactory or good?

Your ability to express desire to users or consumers.

What is the impact on the lives of customers?

Does it meet the customer’s articulated needs?

It’s good to remember, by one hand, that the non-articulated needs, i.e., those that exist but that users or consumers failed to clearly display contains a message that needs help to translate into understandable language. The interactions, that are made possible by platforms, are based on a duality, the organization with its structure, its rules and resources, and customers, who are mutually influenced, often don’t clarify the real needs.

On the other hand, the “hidden needs” which are the types of “things” that people really want, but are unaware of or do not feel that need. These needs will manifest only in future plans and are often the result of a change in surroundings or in the evolutionary process of each person.

In conclusion, although it is tempting to be really creative, ignoring the restrictions, to be able to see the restrictions as liberators is to reach another level of wisdom and it is also motivating.

The ability to execute (feasibility), economic viability and the clear identification of desire of (need or want) of consumers or users, should not be considered steps of a process.

It is at the intersection of these constraints that we must seek a solution to a problem.

These constraints are the pillars of execution that simultaneously serve to filter all possible interactions in organizations that promote co-creation projects with their clients.

What do you think about this?


In my role as a teacher in post-graduate Business Process Management I continually work with groups of students who are professionals from different organizations with different organizational cultures. One of the recurring major challenges within organizations that we have tried to resolve is the lack of clear definition of roles in process implementation.

Open innovation can combine internal and external ideas within an organization in order to enable their full integration in new systems, and this applies equally to commercial and non-profit entities. The main objective of this model is to create value for all stakeholders whether internal or external to the organization.

We can say that value creation comes in many forms, including:

  • knowledge transfer,
  • improvement of the quality of suppliers’ activity,
  • the improvement or innovation in the services or products delivered to customers,
  • or the personal development of employees.

An example of this value creation is InovGrid, a project created by Portuguese energy company EDP Distribution. Collaboration between several university and business organizations enabled effective knowledge transfer within interdisciplinary environments leading to the empowerment of customers to contribute to increased energy efficiency.

Such collaboration (and it isn’t an easy scenario to conceive) is necessarily a process of combining a number of cross-functional factors to make the successful intersection of ideas, knowledge and technology a reality. It allows the development of a state of dynamic alert, stimulates creative flows, encourages learning that includes learning and unlearning, and provides a broad overview of the desired results.

However, if we want effective collaboration to be a reality, we need to understand management roles in a specific context of bringing together divergent organizational cultures. To make open innovation happen it is necessary to assign certain roles within a group, and understand that good performance of these roles is a key step towards achieving positive results. Only then can organizations embrace open systems and begin to build an Open Innovation Culture through which they can work better and more effectively between internal departments and with other external organizations.

Among the many roles that we can find in these collaborative work environments, there are three that are particularly important:

  1. the facilitator,
  2. the ‘common sense’ builder (and creator of a common language)
  3. the adviser (also responsible for maintaining a dynamic dialogue).

It is important to note that these roles do not represent any form of hierarchy. Also, in an iterative manner, the different roles may rotate within a group in an evolutionary scenario, and depending on organizational structures they can be played by one or more members of the teams dedicated to projects.


A further very important factor for the roles to deliver efficient outcomes is the “buy-in” of the process by senior management. They have to accept that subordinates will take on wider horizontal management roles within open innovation groups than their usual ones within their vertical departmental responsibilities. It boosts the personal development of the subordinates concerned, though some traditionally-minded bosses may find this disturbing through not knowing what future employee expectations it could lead to.

Let us start by seeing to what extent the role of a facilitator is essential.

The facilitator
The facilitator is someone who helps a group of people, often originating from different organizations and thus with historical and different cultures, to understand their common objectives. The facilitator also helps in planning though without being part of the resulting discussion.

The role of a facilitator is only effective when done with knowledge and awareness of the contexts in which any resulting activity will take place. The culture and/or the location of the organization that is going to implement the resulting activity might influence the work of the facilitator.

The facilitator should be able to encourage participation and creativity, taking into account the difficulties inherent in bringing together cross-functional teams fromdifferent disciplines. There can be different languages, different knowledge and different values.

The builder
The ‘common sense’ builder is the master of simplicity, removing the complex or ambiguous aspects of information and interactions through ensuring that all members of the project team understand and accept the same meanings of data, terms, labels and phrases.

The guide/adviser
Project teams or teams involved in open innovation initiatives are very similar to a crew of a sailboat in a competition. Plans are made to complete a race with reference to data sources including the course, tides, winds and possibly depth changes during the timescale of the race; specific roles are assigned among the crew to enable effective teamwork and a dynamic dialogue to maintain consistent progress along the route. In short, everyone has to know where they are trying to get to, by when, and what their contribution is going to be to get there. This is the role of the guide/adviser.

As further useful reading on the management of open innovation practices I recommendRoland Harwood’s article on Seven Tactics For Open Innovation.

The importance of trust
If it is true that without a clear understanding of the roles that each person has to play in open innovation teams we cannot set a good route, it is also true that without mutual trust it is difficult for our mutual aims to come to fruition. But is it individual or organizational trust?

Trust settles when comparing our costs, effort and risk-taking with the benefits of teamwork and of interactions with outside elements, and we see that the outcome is positive.

Trust can begin at an individual level though it quickly extends to a wider organization when the reputation or history of the role players is revealed and recognized.

Finally, open innovation projects that deliver solutions or systems that gain some third-party accreditation, such as ISO Certification, also instill organizational trust in the results.

To close, just remember: open innovation depends on effective communication and shared knowledge, so a collaborative and trusting relationship must be transparent.

What do you think about this, does this echo any of your own open innovation experiences? Please share your thoughts.

– This post was originally published in crowdsourcingwee


We know (or we should know) that customers are the final judge of our performance in the markets and to remain in constant contact with them is a step towards innovation and consequently to the success of our Organization.

To be in constant contact with our customers means to observe how people experience, emotionally and cognitively, the world around them and from that observation start the path to satisfy their needs.

Inside organizations we found different teams typically seeking to identify significant changes in markets, where companies develop their activity, because these often indicate the need for new business models and new partnerships, where open innovation plays a crucial role.

Partnerships between startups and SMEs can be a good example of these possible good partnerships.

Those teams have to collect and absorb large amounts of information, often contradictory in nature giving rise to limited perspective of alternative paths to follow so they can meet the needs of customers.

To avoid this “limitation” organizations should be able to redirect its radar and identify a number of little things that usually don’t “jump around”. This only happens when we allow outer looks.

Often we create an empty place when we think we are able to do everything alone or when we quit too early instead of seeking new opportunities or instead of creating new scenarios or thinking about new business models.

We know that the unknown is where organizations feel uncomfortable but we also know that innovators have a tireless curiosity to explore intersections of ideas and fill the white spaces.

For example when looking at new technologies (social networks) we should think of them as facilitators of innovation and new business models, and not as a way to make things more disturbing of business discipline.


Despite the social networks allow the development of collaboration which is at the heart of today’s business processes, most organizations still does not accept this “truth”.

Collaborate is not a simple consequence of a statement. It takes courage!

To collaborate requires a different attitude that is, go beyond case studies or exchanges of good practices. Business facing the demands of a constant torrent of change, cannot be satisfied in transferring a solution from one company to another, or adapting existing models.

To collaborate inside the increasing complexity that companies are facing is a destination that people who embrace interdisciplinarity and who are not afraid to be wrong, wish (that exemplify the startups).

Today the ease of communications promotes a growing specialization of knowledge giving rise to often very diverse work, but that can be combined in order to find innovative solutions appropriate to all stakeholders.

Many voices in the same discipline almost always represent the same knowledge and that also means a fast track to business models already known and experienced.

Co-creation among companies can give rise to new business models and these have not necessarily to delete the models that already exist. The coexistence of business models can represent for SMEs (for example) the path of sustainability and growth.

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Analogies in innovation

Small and medium-sized enterprises, in much of the global world have an active part in driving technological innovation and economic development.

It is understandable that its importance has been hidden by the shadow of large multinational companies, pointed out if we think that the news and opinion exchanges that matter almost always fall in matters that relate to companies such as Samsung, Apple or IBM.

If we want to imagine such large companies as large trees in a dense forest, we will find around, small and medium-sized enterprises (plants) that the feed and make it possible to majestic visibility of companies such as Apple.

In the forest small and medium-sized plants keep alive large trees!

These ecosystems are a good analogy with open innovation regarding the participation of each company in the process of a product or service innovations.

SMEs need to embrace open innovation primarily for reasons related to the market, such as meeting the needs of their customers (often large companies) or remain in competition with their competitors.

To survive in an environment of unequal size, SMEs face great challenges that are translated into organizational and cultural issues, in particular those that are resulting from the need to cope with the significant increase of contacts with the outside world.

So, when and how should be done the knowledge transfer across borders?

If the knowledge is explicit, the problem may not be too big but if knowledge is tacit, it becomes more difficult to express, transfer and absorb. Sharing tacit knowledge requires a long term to strengthen relations of trust necessary for the support of any failures that occur during the sharing.


Effective sharing of tacit knowledge also requires shared practices and in these times the actors must strive to be able to deal with challenges of performance.

We can analyze open innovation under various perspectives, but all of them are based on the combination of knowledge transfer and/or technology and absorption of this knowledge.

Perhaps open innovation has started its way with more visibility through big companies able to realize the need to move out of its borders, but now small and medium-sized companies need to realize that they have two directions where they can focus their attention.

On the one hand, SMEs must be attentive to the activity of large companies and seek to know where their action and innovative potential can fit.

On the other hand, they can be entrepreneurs receiver of smaller size and thus they must combine efforts to meet their domestic needs, whether for exclusive use or to satisfy the needs of large companies for which alone were not enabled.

The notion (knowledge and meaning) or consciousness of the environments where they are inserted, brings to SME’s an advantage in the refining of products and services to be made available to consumers and users, adding a value not visible to larger companies.

This happens by virtue of its proximity to consumers, proximity that enable them to have a transparent absorption of cultural values and of needs of the ecosystems where they are inserted.

It seems that there is, increasingly, the need to establish partnerships in various stages of the development process of new products/services, not only by the issue of knowledge/expertise, but also due to costs and risk management.

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A social side

I think we can say that often, when an organization opens its doors to the outside, even if it is just to watch the competition, emerges a climate of insecurity or fear in leadership or management.

Organizations have lived many years in closed on itself, so the approaches that we do, to address the challenges inherent in organizational culture, when we turn out for open innovation lay leadership and management issues that result in tension.

Know manage this tension between control and collaboration with and between technical and management contributions helps resolve the personal and organizational conflicts.

“For the type of Manager who believes that is a waste of money to go looking for clever ideas from the” crowd “, this is the kind of evidence that challenges the skepticism. Furthermore, when we talk to companies as they are to connect with innovative out of your business, we encourage them to seek ideas from both independent and in adjacent industries. “-Andy Zynga

The members of the organization that plays this role, should establish the direction that employees must follow and they must ensure that the resources meet the needs of those who wish to see carried out activities.

Motivate people and managing resources are not the same thing, and while the latter calls for a strong monitoring component, which is incompatible with the desired collaboration on open innovation, the first requires a predisposition for the initiative and the responsibility of the members of the organizations.

This means that going from a situation analysis of individual contributions of experts to interdisciplinary teams with internal and external relationships requires a very different leadership based on social skills.


To lead these teams the great results we could imagine, in organizations, a leader of excellence that matched the external internal potential in order to maximize the benefits of connectivity that translates to greater diversity and more wealth in knowledge and creativity.

In a society where the game is always changing, the innovations seem short-lived and organizations need strong leadership that make the boat navigating in these tumultuous waters.

Are strong leaders, those who don’t make others feel smaller, out of context or with feelings of guilt when they fail. Are those that have behaviors that add value to employees and create a sense of ability, respect, making them feel unwelcome.

Open innovation must be led by people with high social intelligence.

Here, what I think are some of the features of a helmsman in open innovation.

-The ability to “read” situations, understand the social context which influences behavior, and behavioral strategies that choice are more likely to succeed.

-The ability to convey your image, that is, the external of himself, feeling that others perceive clearly and that generates confidence (trust is the cornerstone in open innovation).

-The ability to generate the realisation that is honest with itself but rather with internal staff and external partners.

-The ability to effectively use the language, explain the concepts clearly and convince with the ideas, facilitating a common language in innovation.

-The ability to create a sense of connection with others, understanding deeply their needs.

Using fully all the features that have, open innovation leaders manage to break through the boundaries between the inside and the outside and promote talent retention at the same time that enrich the organization with new blood, thus giving rise to a new and richer ecosystem.

Overcome the tendency for absolute control and invest in collaboration create fundamental trust levels for innovating with external partners.

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This post was originally published at Crowd Sourcing Week

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Innovation with Open Mind

“…knowledge diversity facilitates all types of contributions to open innovation projects”

In some way we can say that the knowledge diversity or even experiences and cultural diversity, when we talk about interactions between companies and its exterior, easily produce new knowledge.

However this new climate of interaction can obstruct and derail the success of open innovation.

It is essential, therefore, to know how people, when placed in teams, can make substantial contributions of knowledge and how they can combine those contributions giving rise to new knowledge, new ideas and innovation.

But what are the problems these people face in knowledge exchange?

In small and medium-sized enterprises are the networks that facilitate these exchanges of knowledge and provides high levels of creativity as well. More than the formal networks established by companies, informal networks launched the frontiers of knowledge of SMEs to surprising levels.

Networks work more and more to small and medium-sized companies as a way to learn about business opportunities and about the potential for intervention outside its borders.

Though after a few years since Henry Chesbrough coined the term “Open Innovation”, the leaders and managers of SMEs does not yet demonstrate behavior and practices typical of an exploratory attitude or of a networking of exploration of new territories and environments.

There is not a trend or a common desire widespread within companies for advancing collaboration in the creation of products and services or in their marketing, most likely because there is not a climate of trust to promote this collaboration.


By the absence of this climate companies that have integrated some knowledge about the new opportunities from the networks do not come out of its embryonic state of collaboration, and feel difficulty in perceiving a decrease of risk that networked collaboration features.

Building trust is a vital issue and a facilitator for businesses when we established connections in the network.

The first step is to create confidence in the new models within the leaders and managers and make it expand by contagion to all employees.

When a company has allowed or was able to build the internal trust among its employees, essential step to a progression in an environment of open innovation, its employees become imbued with the ambition of being innovative.

Today seems to be irrefutable fact that innovation doesn’t happen without connections and without nets and consequently, the employees of the companies will face the same challenges of trust that their leaders or managers.

Those connections and networks are the result of an era of intense technological development where exchanges of knowledge associated with missing or surplus technologies must be clear so that we can address these challenges of trust.

The more evolved is the technology provided more credibility and greater responsiveness of third parties.

“As a rule, in the Portuguese case, we have a strong emphasis on absorption”, says the researcher, explaining that the tendency, in Portugal, is that companies try to use technologies created outside their companies and do not use the surplus technologies that they have to share with others. This makes the Portuguese innovation model a relatively closed model when compared with countries where technological development is advanced. “

But, technology is not enough to increase levels of trust in open innovation. It is also necessary a greater collaboration and the creation of a common language, the transformation of implicit into explicit and the acquisition of meaning and purpose of the project.

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This post was originally published at Crowd Sourcing Week


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Thinking about…

Experts in business and government are always talking about economies of scale. They say that increasing the size of projects and institutions brings costs savings. But the “efficient,” when too large, isn’t so efficient. Size produces visible benefits but also hidden risks; it increases exposure to the probability of large losses.”

On the other hand the “conventional wisdom” says that small is better when it comes to innovation and it also says that the more people are involved in the innovation process the better the result.

We know also that the context has a vital role in solving problems even when we approach the problems in a global way. Even if the problem is common to many people as the frequent lack of drinking water in areas where they inhabit, the possible solution begins always with a clear definition of the context and the ecosystem.

In recent years we have witnessed an economic growth and work in some areas of the globe driven by large-scale innovation and that is connected to the mobile communication networks.

It seems to be true that innovation is the main source of new jobs and the same time also seems to be true that are small businesses that generate most jobs.

We have seen a real trend of speech focusing on entrepreneurs and startups as a way to overcome many of the “crises” that exist in Europe and beyond, which makes me question the existing structure in many of the companies that ceased to be the source of employment and wealth.

Is that the time has come to restructure the large companies in small networks?

Could we design small businesses at scale and with this leverage the results?

The structures of different possible ecosystems that emerge around a core of innovation (e.g. Apple) are independent and flexible result of extensibility potential to the different contexts in a global world.


“The flexibility of small-scale infrastructure is attractive because it gives firms the ability to deploy investments gradually over time, which further reduces cost and risk. “If a city’s electricity demand is growing, a utility firm doesn’t have to finance a gigawatt power plant that might take four or five years to come online,” van Ryzin says. “It can instead deploy smaller plants as needed.” In turn, a firm doesn’t incur the cost of building a large plant right away — one that might not operate at full capacity immediately.”

Will change from large in size to large in number (but small in size of infrastructure) scale?

For that, apart from direct benefits in the reduction of investment costs and risk (considerable economic benefits) it is necessary to create new frames to calculate the return on investment and that passes necessarily by the “calculation” of the efficiency and effectiveness of the organizations and by the well-being and growth of employees of these organizations.

Keeping the smaller nuclear teams, there is a building team spirit, an innovative leadership and recognition that the effort has value and purpose.

We already passed the age of large machines and large enterprises to small networks of computers and we already have seen the birth of new feelings of independence and responsibility in organizations through this evolution.

We must now respond more to the needs of different contexts of the different capacities of different ecosystems and start creating new alliances of enterprises, more open and innovative.

The space for a joint growth exists. Lack the will or believe in that possibility.

The flexibility of small-scale infrastructure is appealing because it gives companies the ability to deploy investments gradually over time, which further reduces the costs and risks and smaller units also offer geographic flexibility, we can use it in a single location or concentrated around key supply or demand sources.

Innovation initiatives that were once handled by dozens a decade ago are now run by only handfuls,” writes Michael Schrage. He mentions Google, Facebook and Apple among the leading innovators that swear by the power of tiny teams. The trend is not just with tech companies. Global pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline now regularly relies on teams of as few as eight people.”

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Preparing for the future

About a year ago the discussion on the role of SMES in open innovation began to intensify and I had the pleasure to listen to and talk with Stefan Lindegaard (@lindegaard) at an event promoted by COTEC Portugal-Portugal.

Now Lindegaard wrote a book FREE BOOK: Making Open Innovation Work that can also be purchased here here (Amazon) If you prefer a paper version.

It is a book that comes not only answer to many questions but also helps us put ideas in the right place when we talk about open innovation in an environment of small and medium-sized enterprises.

SMEs have some structural disadvantages when it comes to opening the doors to innovation. Often do not have many of the skills needed to identify, transfer and absorb foreign ideas and new technologies effectively.

In my opinion and in a structural dimension the more important deficiencies raised by SMEs to open innovation seem to be:

– Limited absorption capacity. SMEs in general do not demonstrate the ability to support human and material resources devoted to creating structures that identify external knowledge helpful.

The emerging or promising technologies from other businesses and universities do not come to the attention of SMEs.

– Inadequate and incomplete integration. Even when they are initially identified and transferred, rarely these outside ideas and technologies are fully formed and integrated.

Human resources do not have the prerequisites needed to understand, absorb and exploit the results of the work of universities. The communication is done with a language not common to the interlocutors that hinder the absorption capacity.

– SMEs are less attractive as partners for other firms. Researchers focus on these large companies because they are more prestigious or they choose to create a their company.

In adittion to this obstacle that SMEs rarely have the resources available to provide support for research and, often, there is not an institutionalized process of innovation and well structured.

– SMEs are deficient in capturing value. Such companies usually do not have the market power to capture the value of knowledge and information obtained externally.

After all SMEs can catch some fights like David and Goliath, although the financial results are not spectacular.

These are some of the structural aspects that help reflect on open innovation and SMEs, but very insightful Lindegaard places also in his book, the prospect of the importance of people in this approach.

“Short Description:

“Big and small companies—you need to open up!” says Stefan Lindegaard In Making Open Innovation Work, but what exactly is open innovation, and why does it matter? Open innovation is about having the mindset and skills that enable companies to bridge internal and external resources and use this combination to bring new products and services to market faster. Practical, engaging, and direct, the book thoroughly explores the open innovation intersection between big and small companies, explains what forms open innovation takes, discusses the benefits, and lists the challenges it poses for companies of different sizes.

Looking at organizational issues and sharing insights on how open innovation impacts management, it also offers tips on how to identify the people who have the potential to drive open innovation, and using case studies, illustrates how open innovation works with small companies. Lindegaard explains why big companies need small companies as part of their open innovation ecosystems and suggests strategies for building and making open innovation partnerships work when the partners are of unequal size—he also includes a section on what to do if things go awry in an open innovation partnership. Finally, readers are shown how to handle issues of intellectual property rights, and how to use social media tools to build open innovation capabilities and attract partnerships.”

This book is also an opportunity for all of us to extend our horizons in innovation and it is also an extremely laudable demonstration of shared wisdom.

Thanks Stefan!

Don’t forget: Stefan Lindegaard is on Twitter @lindegaard, he is the creator of

Read:The Open Innovation Revolution: Essentials, Roadblocks, and Leadership Skills and Making Open Innovation Work by Stefan Lindegaard

Thank you!


 Hierarchies and some key competencies

I think, in enterprises and even in our private lives, to select the best options it is always a big challenge.

When we are facing constant change and the consequent uncertainty, looking for the best solutions to emerging problems, cannot be limited to the internal zone of the companies and therefore they have to resort to external collaboration, often privileging the interactivity via networks, in particular in a 2.0 environment.

This collaboration involves different strategies, giving some qualities to benefit from the reception of other. This means that a company before making a choice of collaboration should answer two fundamental questions in accordance with the structure and principles of the Organization:

-Which dimension of opening in collaboration?

-Who decides and who selects the best options?

The question of giving arises when we are entered in flat networks of collaboration where partners in equality, share the power to decide key matters.

However, despite exists, at more hierarchical networks of collaboration, some degree in the power of decision, it is important to find answers to some questions:

Who decides what are the most important problems and how can they be resolved?

What constitutes an acceptable solution and which should be implemented?

More open networks, without belittling other possibilities and taking into account that living on an island or in silos, it can cost the survival of a company, have some advantages:

In addition there is a possibility to attract a large number of people with proposals for solutions with no need to select to identify the best contributors and does not know these people can be an advantage.

However if an organization chooses an open model but with a strong hierarchical structure, it is necessary to know that the result is only effective if the evaluation of ideas will be for a low cost and if the participation in the presentation of these ideas is an easy process.

In the same direction, the Organization should be aware that the hierarchical structure has the ability to define problems and evaluate proposals for solution.

The fact, that an organization working in collaborative network implies a fit or reorganization in financial and non-financial resources to attract external contributions. It is necessary to identify trends in the training of human resources and management skills and raise awareness of the need for contributions from people.

The networks are in fact the only viable way for businesses and connectivity is essential to be aware of being and be from the outside world organizations.

Michael Schrage, MIT has an expression very curious that demonstrates the power of networks:

“The networks make explicit organizational culture and politics.”

We know that a chart generally reflects the power and the policy of the Organization and in the literature on this topic several concepts are proposed to measure the hierarchy of a network, such as the directory in the hierarchy, the law of scale for clusters of nodes, the components of the hierarchy, degrees, etc.

These measures may tell us the existence and extent of hierarchy in a network, but this is only useful for defining the powers of decision, because if the connections are distributed randomly, arises the problem of reconstruction when we need to replicate it.

And for that the networks make explicit culture and organizational policy, we must be aware that trust, transparency and authenticity are the glue that holds it all together. Without that the network is not true.

Whatever the way an organization choose to develop their activities, within the scenarios proposed here, it is important to identify some skills required for an effective collaboration process.

Organizations must have a special organizational fitness, that is, a culture of openness, dynamic capabilities for organizational change, organizational structure and processes and an appropriate technological enhancement.

“The external knowledge can only be recognized, accessed and assimilated when companies develop new routines and change their organizational structure and culture to facilitate the process of open innovation.” (Dalander and Gann, 2007)

The routines we want or healthy habits or collaboration imply that the leadership of organizations has a strong set of skills, such as:

-The ability to “read” situations, to understand the social context that influences the behavior, and choose behavioral strategies that are most likely to be successful.

-The ability to build an external sense of himself that others realize and that generates confidence.

-A form of behavior that generates a perception that he is honest with itself and, above all with internal developers and external partners.

-The ability to effectively use the language, explain concepts with clarity and convince with the ideas.

-The ability to create a sense of connection with others, recognizing deeply their needs.

When in the use of the fullness of all these characteristics, these leaders of innovation are able to break through the boundaries between the inside and the outside world and promote talent retention at the same time that enrich the organization with new blood, thus creating a new ecosystem.

The change that growth, often brings, primarily in small and medium-sized businesses, calls for a strong and collaborative attitude that can rise to the change of leadership itself.

Overcome the tendency for absolute control and invest in collaboration creates the fundamental trust levels for innovating with external partners.

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The expansion of interdisciplinarity in innovation

Today more than ever, build effective contacts with the other company’s employees and a diversity of people outside it is essential to grasp the business opportunities and turn them into sustainable innovation.

To be persuasive, be able to influence for the collaboration, without using the power or money is necessary to develop skills of communication and relationship with other people with knowledge in other domains than our own.

We will have an effective work only if we can with support and willingness to collaborate with other people inside and outside the company.

A few years ago many of us thought that the future of our work will be a large specialization and preferably almost exclusively and in fact were so for some time. Good salaries, bonuses, promotions and most important jobs were absorbed by people shaped “I” (specialists). Now T-shaped people tend to absorb these places and if we are not yet there is time to get to tread the path to get there.

But not only are employers who value interpersonal and communication skills, together with the technical and strategic thinking and project management when it tackles the issue of innovation.

Henry Chesbrough says: “In a world of open innovation, specialists are available for collaboration through a variety of mechanisms, such that they need not be part of your payroll in order to help you innovate…

In a world of open innovation, where there are a wealth of useful ideas and smart people, the ability to integrate these available parts into effective solutions that deliver value is tremendously important…

Develop a culture that seeks out and rewards those managers with integration skills, to make the most out of both internal and external ideas.  This is the key talent to fight for in a world of open innovation.”

Open innovation is an interdisciplinary process that requires experts of various disciplines to work together throughout a project.

There are some good examples, see Elsevier, for reflection on how this approach must be made and how interdisciplinary teams have shown effective. At the bottom is an approach to diversity that requires some attention.

An open innovation project needs a leadership capable of driving a holistic vision in creating value for the consumer and at the same time be aligned with the competencies and strategies of the organizations involved.

This means that, for example engineers or other specialists in specific areas should have a basic knowledge of adjacent fields or to be good partners and collaboration partners, both inside and outside the organization.

“The value of multi-disciplinary thinking is one that many have touched upon in recent years. That includes the T-shaped thinkers championed by Bill Moggridge at IDEO, and the I-with-a-serif-shaped thinker introduced by Microsoft Research’s Bill Buxton, right through to the collaboration across departments, functions and disciplines that constitutes genuine cross disciplinary activity. This, I believe, is the way that innovation will emerge in our fiendishly complex times.” Helen Walters

Think about T-shaped people to interdisciplinary innovation is a perspective appealing to employees of companies as well as an obligation for innovative organizations.

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