"Last week, I read an article on how Coloplast has set-up communities for their users to share experiences and ideas. You can use Google to translate the Danish article and you can check out one of their communities here: International Stoma Innovation Community. In the article, Coloplast claims that they have halved their development time over the last couple of years partly due to the external input and they also mention that they are now using many more external partners than previously.
It sounds good, but nevertheless, I think Coloplast is a nice example of company that is still stuck in the user-driven mindset. The main idea of user-driven innovation is to get input from the users – and perhaps even the eco-system – of your products or services.
Open innovation is about integrating external partners in the entire innovation process. This should happen not just in the idea or technology development phase but also in all other phases towards market acceptance. User-driven innovation is great as it directs your innovation efforts towards market needs. Open innovation takes you to the next step by providing more opportunities through external partners as you address those market needs.
Which red flags did I pick up on Coloplast? First, take at look at their corporate website. I cannot find any guidelines on how to approach Coloplast with ideas or other contributions. Compare this to Procter & Gamble where you can find a very visible link to their Connect+Develop initiative.
Another red flag is the stoma community itself. It really gives you the feeling that it is about how Coloplast can tap into users rather than how they can work together and build relationships with external partners. This is what user-driven innovation is about. It should just not be confused with open innovation." (http://www.15inno.com/2009/11/09/userdriven/)