Open Innovation in a flash

The_Flash_Poster ideas.wikia.comI recently answered to a flash interview from Abilways Digital that I take up below:

Q1/ How would you define Open Innovation ?

Professor Chesbrough who formalized the concept of Open Innovation in his book in 2003 has recently widened the definition as follows. He says: Open innovation completely changes the innovation funnel:

  • By “discovering and embedding new solutions and expertise more rapidly that an internal R&D lab might accomplish”;
  • and reversely, by “making unused ideas and technologies available to others, companies develop new business out of collaboration”;
  • Finally, by “creating new business models arising from opening up the process, opening the doors to cocreation, and customer communities driving a business.” (crowd)

henry chesbrough

Q2/ How does Open Innovation impact your organization?

As Mari-Noëlle Jego Lavessière, head of Innovation Marketing Technology at Orange, says ‘We’ve always been practising open innovation as we are interoperating with other Telcos and suppliers to enable communications’. Nevertheless, we’ve adapted our way to innovate according to the environmental trends in the past 5 years. When I look at the different shifts, I’m amazed by how fast this industry and our company has switched:

  • User centric design: derived from User-Lead approach (Van Hippel) and Design-Thinking, we balance technology push with user insights, and handle powerful tools to listen to the voice of the customer: Lab Orange for polling and testing new concepts, Dream Orange for digital conversations, and Imagine with Orange, a cocreation platform for ideation, are open innovation approaches with customers;
  • Open Innovation with start-ups and users: beyond traditional R&D partnerships with universities and corporate labs, Orange has initiated Orange Partner (to expose internal resources to external partners), Orange Fab (to foster start-ups collaboration with Orange business units), Orange for Development (to develop local ICT markets with start-up incubation and funding), and once more Imagine with Orange, whose platform is open to any user, customers and non customers, external users as well as Orange employees, and a launchpad for entrepreneurs;
  • Multifunctional project team: working in the same open space, handling quick prototyping and fast iterating, based on the lessons from Lean Start-up book (like MVP), and the New Product Development Game & Rugby approach published by Professor Nonaka, innovation teams are named ‘one-roof’ projects’ by Luc Bretones, head of Orange Technocenter & Orange vallée, and seek to be ‘agile’ throughout the innovation process. This cross functionality seems to me a kind of ‘open innovation’ within the team!

Q3/ Can you name 3 expressions that characterize Open Innovation?

Open Innovation is :

  • Openness: OI is like a parachute, it works better when it’s open !
  • Dynamic: OI puts the organization in movement, it’s a journey of acculturation and multiple projects, which requires target (quantified objectives set by CEO) and support (resources, skills, and adapted processes) and continuously iterates;
  • Sharing: OI is not something you own, but a tool at the service of the company.


Q4/ Why setting in motion an Open innovation strategy (Imagine With Orange use case) ?

Detecting opportunities from unknown territories, and reinventing your business model has become a priority for many companies. Concurrently, as Orange transforms itself in a fully international company, operating in 30 countries (of which 20 countries in Africa and Middle-East), we need ideas to circulate all around the world, to capture innovations rising from Africa, such as the frugal ‘mobile money’ service born in Kenya.

This is the reason why we developed Imagine with Orange, to share trends from every part of the world on the way digital can improve our life, and unveil digital usages in new territories. It’s a great success, each quarterly thematic challenge brings its range of opportunities and unexpected triggers.




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