Open Innovation and Partner Strategy
Before we leave the Ecosystem Activation topic and move on to breadth channel management, let’s pause to reflect on the valuable asset that partners and individual developers represent in context of open innovation. The idea of open innovation is to seek out external inputs to your product plans and engage in collaborative development of products with your customers and partners.
Since you’re educating and helping to incubate partner solutions before your own product release, there’s a tremendous opportunity to fine tune your own offering and gather feedback for the subsequent releases. Developing adoption tracking programs and active listening/reporting mechanisms (which we’ll talk about in breadth enablement) will yield a “fitted solution” to market needs.
Existing partners/developers have a vested interest in the features and quality of your product release. To leverage this, your organization has to seek out (e.g., breadth programs feedback, social media sentiment monitoring, employee reporting) and adapt product capabilities based on their feedback.
Note that the purest form of open innovation (collaborating with customer to define products) works best outside of the context of a current product incubation cycle where the focus is on known customer needs and you are limited in the amount of change you can consider in light of product release schedules. Generating brand new market offerings requires a less iterative approach that is independent of current product cycles (a topic I’ll cover in context of startups in a future post).