We know it. Everyone says it. Risk is absolutely necessary for entrepreneurial success.
Entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones who have to deal with the fear of trying new things. This feeling also arises in many large companies when someone comes up with a new idea.
Innovation raises instinctive fears, especially when it comes from the outside, because companies are afraid that their business ideas will leak out to their competitors.
Siemens, Procter & Gamble, Iberdrola and General Electric were some of the first companies to overcome this fear and realise that, sometimes, the best ideas come from outside partners and entrepreneurs. Over the years, some of these companies have achieved great things.
Procter & Gamble’s Connect + Develop programme is a great example of how open innovation can benefit both companies and entrepreneurs. In fact, it was one of my favourite examples to use in class when I used to teach entrepreneurship here at ESADE. Connect + Develop has allowed Procter & Gamble to come up with many breakthrough ideas, and numerous entrepreneurs have benefited greatly from it.
Open innovation should never be underestimated. For some entrepreneurs, it’s sometimes the only way to make the leap and boost their business. If a start-up’s business idea is appealing enough, the company can become a crucial ally in developing the project and opening the doors to new distribution channels.
Firms that are afraid of bringing in innovation from the outside are shutting the door on great new business ideas and meaningful innovation.
Companies should be on the lookout for entrepreneurs and remember that great things start to happen when you step out of your comfort zone.