What is Co-Innovation? Co-Innovation is two parties with unique expertise that come together in a 50/50 funding of resources. The key component being they have complimentary interests. Think of it as a Venn diagram. The goal of Co-Innovation is to find where the Venn diagrams overlap. Co-Innovation means:
- Two parties with patented expertise.
- A complete 50/50 venture.
- Define what it is/why it exists.
- Find the common area of interests.
- Agree on what the target is.
- How do you go about doing it.
- Neither of you can do it alone.
- You and your partner cannot do it alone.
- This creates mutual dependency.
- Requires both entities to participate in.
- You are going to launch a real product.
- The product had to be launched within 24 months.
- The product had to have high impact to both organizations.
If you set up a Co-Innovation program successfully, they will have benefits to your organization such as:
- Reducing risk.
- Speeding up delivery of innovation.
- Leveraging your R&D budget.
Over the years of creating these programs there are a couple lessons I have learned.
How do you manage these programs once they are under way?
- Use your senior executive sponsorship to set the pacing.
- Set gates and milestones.
- You must have clear targets.
- Share and show what you are working on.
- Get real feedback from customers using your products.
How do you get a Co-Innovation program going?
- You have to find the areas of mutual interests.
- This takes time and many conversations with leaders of other organizations.
- Set up a one-day workshop where teams from both sides talk about their areas of interests.
- Start working together as teams and propose a target.
When Co-Innovation programs go wrong, the case is usually that people want to call it a Co-Innovation program when it really is not.
- A lot of companies confuse Co-Innovation with contract R&D.
- Another is that a lot of people are really focused on research with no real plan. Innovation is all about execution.
- It turns into a PR or a marketing effort.
If you follow these basic rules, Co-Innovation programs can really ignite your organization and take you into market opportunities you would never be able to achieve on your own.
Why is it so hard for people to pitch their ideas? To tell their ideas in a way that people swarm towards it and want to be a part of it. The skill of the pitch is so hard to find. What I have found is that the skill of pitch usually falls into two categories:
- The person making the pitch believes they can win you with facts
- They know what they are talking about.
- They attempt to belittle anyone who challenges them, with facts.
- Overwhelming with content
- They overwhelm you with an abundance of slides and content.
So, what is it that makes people struggle with coming up with a well thought-out and structured pitch? Many people forget about the fact that decisions are personal. You cannot ignore the personal and emotional side of decision making. In doing the pitch, you have to create an emotional side to your story to hook the listeners in and make them understand your pitch. The way I do this is called “Strategic Storytelling.” Storytelling is a critical part of the pitch. Storytelling around a strategic pitch involves three things:
- Define the problem in the form of a story.
- Define the solution as part of a story.
- Tell the story in such a way that they can see themselves using that solution.
- Place the people in that story.
- Tell the story in such a way that they can place themselves in that story.
The Structure of Strategic Storytelling
The way to structure the strategic storytelling is the structure of a three-act play. A three-act play is typically what you see in TV shows and movies.
- Act One is the set up.
- It is about setting up location, defining characters, and laying the foundation.
- Giving people background.
- Warming people up to the concept of a story-telling process.
- Act Two is the confrontation.
- The obstacle, the problem, the challenge people are facing.
- Describe the size, the scope, and the impact of the problem.
- This act is used to pull out the emotions of people.
- Act Three is the resolution.
- Describe how the solution is going to solve or minimize the problems.
- It tells what the role of the solution is on a long-term basis.
Think about the acts in the context of a movie. Use this structure in your presentation; don’t just use slides, talk and engage. There are a few basic rules I have learned about strategic storytelling:
- Keep it short.
- Typically, twenty minutes is a good time length for the story.
- If it takes longer, than you do not know your subject matter well enough.
- Tailor it to the people in the meeting.
- Do not go in there with a generic story.
- You can find out a lot about the people through social medias.
- Put emotion and passion into it.
- Do not make it sound like you are reading a script in a monotone voice.
- Practice it so it sounds natural.
- Understand the use of pausing and the tone of your voice to create tension and excitement.
- Understand the role of your voice.
- Read the body language of the people in the meeting.
- If people are not really listening, change it up and catch their attention.
- When you end your strategic story, end it with emphasis.
- End it on a pause.
- You want it to fully sink into people’s minds.
At the end of your pitch there are a few things you can do to improve your strategic storytelling.
- Follow up with the people in the room at the end and ask how you can improve your pitch.
- Ask if you were clear and fully conveyed your message.
- Record it and listen back.
- Go on YouTube and find great storytellers.
I hope today’s show inspired you to look into co-innovating and engaging in strategic storytelling. Don’t get bogged down by distractions that take you off course from creating the next Killer Innovation, telling a compelling story and achieving your goals. If you have questions or comments on this week’s show, I’d love to hear from you. Or carryon the conversation about these steps to building innovation strength at The Innovators Community.
To learn more about co-innovation and strategic storytelling, listen to this week's show: Better Ways to Co-Innovation and Strategic Storytelling.