(57b) Using Functionality to Figure out Who to Invite to the Open Innovation Table

Authors: 
Hipple, J., TRIZ and Engineering Training Services


When we have decided that open innovation may be a productive addition to our innovation efforts, the question then becomes, ?who should we talk to?? Most open innovation networks show very specific technology or product needs phrased in the language of the user, who has a very specific problem in mind. This puts a narrow framework on the ideation thinking.

One useful way of broadening our open innovation thinking is to change the description of the problem we have to a functional one and ask, ?Who else needs to perform this function? This type of result?? For example, there may be a product design challenge in chemical plant display panels. It is easy to come up with such names as Honeywell and Foxboro. Maybe the open innovation concept might lead us to machine tool interfaces. But what is the FUNCTION we are concerned about? It's really the interface between a person and a display screen. Where else does this occur? Hospital operating rooms? Video games? Air traffic control rooms? PDA's? All of these industries and products have the same general concern. If we think about function rather than product, we can be far more productive in our search for open innovation partners and in-licensing, non-competitive opportunities.

This talk will discuss functionality and show how it can be used to make open innovation programs more effective. Examples from several industries will be shown.

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