External Innovation: You Should See It To Believe It

Monday, 22 August 2016 07:33
Blog author: 

You know what I mean?

Greetings! A common and familiar idiomatic expression, "A picture is worth a thousand words" is very applicable to situations where a visual image can rescue complex communications that words can't easily capture. This phrase is fully applicable to the field of external innovation.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

External Innovation:

You Should See It To Believe It What's the single most compelling selling element for Indiegogo and Kickstarter crowdfunding projects? The pitch video, of course. These are often dynamic and exciting and bring the entrepreneur's selling proposition to life. They also help communicate it in a way that words alone never could. Here's a representative example: https://youtu.be/jrbVo5KBfxA

In contrast, external innovation as currently practiced by many FMCG companies is a very static process. Inputs are typically required to be submitted to the customer in writing. Responses are typically also transmitted in writing and without the benefit of discussion. Networking systems can permit sharing of external inputs across the customer's company. However, these are valuable only if the recipients can recognize the submission's applicability to their work based on the written information provided.

I understand why FMCG companies choose to remain at arms length from most external parties (unless they are known and vetted supplier partners). I also can appreciate that it is probably easiest for submissions to be managed as text files. Still, I suspect that the current processes for submitting and reviewing external inputs substantially limit their potential value to the company.

How to improve the yield from external submissions? FMCG companies should enable or even encourage video submissions (in addition to written files) and engage in discussion with qualified parties to ensure that their submissions are fully understood. These videos don't need to be fancy and shouldn't be. They just need to effectively communicate the value proposition. More people than ever before now have access to smartphone capabilities to shoot and transmit video files.

I'm not suggesting that the companies relax their confidentiality provisions or ignore intellectual property considerations. I only suggest that companies work harder to ensure that external parties' submissions and their potential applications are communicated and fully understood before they pass judgment on them. Who knows? They might be pleasantly surprised by what they find.

"Connecting You With The Right Solutions"BFS Innovations, Inc.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and business development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.

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