Top 10 Reasons for Open Innovation Failure

Top 10 Reasons for Open Innovation FailureA recent #15inno Twitter Chat made me ponder on the worst and most common mistakes that companies do on open innovation. Here comes a list of my thoughts – still work in progress.

1. Companies do not identify proper business reasons for engaging with open innovation.

2. Companies copy competitor’s initiatives rather than creating their own unique initiatives that match their business reasons for doing open innovation.

3. Companies fail to make their employees, partners and customers understand what open innovation means to the company and they fail to explain the impact of such a new direction to the internal and external stakeholders.

4. The various organizational units – and in particular the operational ones – are not fully aligned with the innovation initiatives making it difficult to execute in full on otherwise well-devised initiatives.

5. Executives fail to understand that how they handle risk and fear of losing control-issues are key to successful open innovation and thus they don’t deal with them head-on.

6. Companies put their “best guys” in charge of open innovation failing to recognize that the “best guys” who do great by doing things as usual are not necessarily what is needed in order to succeed with open innovation. It is a paradigm shift and you often need different perspectives to succeed.

7. Companies often have problems making internal innovation work and they see open innovation as a quick fix with long-term effect. Wrong. You will not succeed with open innovation if you cannot make innovation work internally.

8. Companies focus more on their own gains rather than working towards creating a true win-win scenario.

Hey, that’s only eight… That’s right. I hope you can help identify more reasons for open innovation failure. What can you add?

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Stegan LindegaardStefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation.

Stefan Lindegaard




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No Comments

  1. Jeff Boehm on July 29, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Great list – agree with, and have seen, a lot of these points. Expanding on point 7, you are right that you need to have a solid internal infrastructure for innovation upon which you can build a strong open innovation platform.

    In addition, you need to make sure you clearly integrate the two, such that ideas coming from the outside are properly handled and integrated into your overall innovation program. The risk of course is that these ideas languish – and worse than missing out on great opportunities, you build an image as a company that doesn’t listen or one that views open innovation as a publicity tool.

  2. Sociomatic on February 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm


    Excellent post, can you identify any case of failure where open innovation was considered a reason of the failure.

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