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Hot topics in Central European Open Innovation: Cross-funnel innovation, Big Data

In preparing the next workshop of the Practitioner’s Expert Circle, innovation-3 asked its clients about hot topics that should be the discussed. Two topics emerged: Cross-funnel innovation and Big Data.

There’s a famous quote from the ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky: „A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.“ The same holds true for innovation: Firms are shooting for a moving target, i.e. where they assume their customers and markets will be in 1-2 years of time (depending on how long it takes to conceptualize and realize innovations in products, services or business models).

This is in particular true for firms in B2B settings that aim at becoming strategic innovation partners for other large firms. In order to make sure that their own innovations make an impact at their customers they need to anticipate where their targeted customers will innovate in 1-2 years.

We are beginning to see Best and Emerging Practices in Central European firms. The key seems to be to find ways to share part of the innovation agenda, in other words: To conduct cross-funnel innovation. Key questions in this context are: How can one identify search fields that are relavent for both parties which will be screened fo cross-funnel innovation? What are the specific challenges in cross-value chain innovation in this context? How can one start substantial discussions with the targeted innovation partner? What are the Dos and Don’ts? How should one proceed with IP questions in this context?

Big Data, the second topic of the upcoming workshop, receives a lot of attention these days. Firms aim at increasing the “signal-to-noise” ratio from a huge amount of transactional data in order to elicit starting points for innovation. State-of-the-art tools like SAP’s Hana allow for almost real-time, totally flexible analysis of this data. From an innovator’s perspective, Big Data provides a new opportunity for filling the fuzzy front-end of the funnel. However, there are some key questions that need to be answered: How can actually find innovation insights in a Big Data approach? How should the biggest barriers – People, skills, organization / processes, culture – be addressed? How can a firm achieve alignment between the rather technical view on Big Data (Think: Databases, analytical tools) and the business view?

Looking at the preliminary participant list, both topics are relevant for a number of industries. Two months before the workshop, quite a number of firms have signed up: Deutsche Telekom, Merck, Siemens, Henkel, SAP, Evonik Industries, Beiersdorf, SMA Solar Technology, Solvay, Deutsche Lufthansa, Bayer, Wittenstein, Lanxess, MBtech Group and Zentis.