More on this Q&A with Larry Huston.
When asked about how a company would actually go about building and participating in an innovation network once it has decided to move in that direction, Larry Huston explained that the company needs to be clear on what he calls its "strategic intent."
This knowing is a key first step. The design of the network will be based entirely on this reason.
Some typical plans answer questions like:
"Do you need just incremental problem solving?"
"Do I need to build idea nets?"
"Do I need to build solution nets?"
"Do I need cost innovation networks?"
"Am I looking for disruptive innovation?"
"Do I need to reach from one domain into another domain of knowledge outside of my industry where I might find more disruptive innovation?"
After those answers have been clearly articulated, what Huston refers to as "an architecture of participation" needs to be built. Involving others from the "outside world" as an initial means to solving these problems is a key part of this phase. Mining the expertise and insight of these outsiders is a key goal of this phase.
Knowing what you are looking for, what problem exists and how you want to use the network(s) must all happen effectively and in that order. Building what he calls a "portfolio of relationships with the outside world" will be a part of leveraging these networks as well.
Other points Huston makes:
- Be transparent, be forthcoming with information.
- Be speedy when someone on the other end is waiting for answer.
- Give a fair deal.
- Utilize available networking tools and approaches whenever possible or doable.