The Why And How Of Co-Innovation
October 12, 2022
By Matt Guarini, Vice President and Ted Schadler, Vice President, Forrester
While innovation might be the most overused term in business today, it continues to be what most often sets successful companies apart. So, where does it come from? The answer might not be what you think. In this episode, we’ll discuss how your closest partners (combined with internal shifts) can deliver the creative ideas and innovations you’re after.
The discussion starts by defining what co-innovation means and explaining why it’s so vital in the market. According to Schadler, the shift to cloud-based software and services changed everything. “The cloud drives a lot more cohesion or relationship codependency,” he explains, adding that it elevated what firms expect from their partners. And that stronger alignment and commitment to shared responsibility and outcomes became the launchpad for co-innovation.
“It’s not just outsourcing,” says Schadler. “You’re looking for partners to bring you new ideas, but you’re also looking for partners to get it done in ways you want to get it done.”
Why is this shift so vital? Guarini points out that more CIOs and CTOs are being measured not by the work their teams do, but by the business outcomes that work makes possible. So, how do you continue to improve outcomes with limited internal resources or budget? Look outside — to your partners.
Of course, a co-innovation strategy requires a high degree of coordination. Guarini says this is where the practices pillar of a future fit technology strategy can provide guidance on how to drive outcomes and use lean forms of governance to manage and drive the co-innovation process.
A key component of successful co-innovation is identifying the right partners — ones that readily take on the shared responsibility needed for co-innovation to truly thrive. Schadler reviews five key factors you can use to assess co-innovation partners, understanding that the right partners will recognize it as an opportunity, not a burden. “You’ll make bigger bets on fewer players ultimately, but you’re going to make those bets with your eyes wide open,” says Schadler.
Later in the episode, the analysts detail some of the benefits that a successful co-innovation strategy brings, including agility, scale, differentiation, and tapping into partners’ investments.
“This is a different way of working,” says Guarini, adding that technology leaders must lead a cultural shift within their organizations to focus more on the customer value of their work and less on tactical metrics like project completion.