Last week, I [Stefan Lindegaard] attended an open innovation session led by General Mills. Among the distributed materials, I found nine tips for open innovation by Peter Erickson, their Sr. VP of Innovation, Technology and Quality.
The tips are based on General Mills’ successful collaborations with external innovators. I like them and since I believe they are universal, I want to share them with the open innovation community. Here they are:
• Create a differentiated opportunity. Be prepared to articulate how your product, idea or technology is unique and better than anything on the market.
• Test your innovation. You’ll be able to speak to market interest and consumer or retailer reaction if you’ve previously placed your innovation before these audiences.
• Be selective. Avoid courting multiple corporate partners. Companies want to know you are as dedicated to them as they are to you.
• Find a contact to be your champion. Within a large company it’s essential to have a “tour guide” which is why all of General Mills’ external partners are matched with specific employees.