How You Can Connect Talent to Create Future Technologies

How You Can Connect Talent to Create Future Technologies

By Heidi Hattendorf

A look at developing your organization’s best ideas:

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the replacement rate of new technology – and even new data – is accelerating like never before. The need to innovate and create “what’s next” is pressing; however finding the right big ideas to build and develop isn’t easy. Ideas can sometimes come from one person or a small team within your company, but most often they don’t. To identify and develop the best ideas, you have to bring together talent from various areas. This includes knowledge from your employees, university connections, external partnerships and your customers.

Here are examples of several ways to bring in new, innovative thinking that can generate your next great product.

Tap Into Your Employees:

Your employees are solving customer problems every day. They have domain expertise and a pulse on what the market wants. Companies can create environments where employees can build ideas through crowd-sourced social media-based tools. They can create global, virtual water-cooler conversation and idea exchanges. For example, at Motorola Solutions, our innovation management framework infused with social media tools enables employees from the U.S. to easily exchange ideas with others in Poland and Malaysia, and see comments from teams in China, Germany and the U.K.

An active “idea pipeline” supported by senior-leader sponsorship, pro-active communications and the right mix of supporters throughout your organization is critical. It can:

1.      Have a significant positive impact on your organizational culture with increased motivation on building the future

2.      Increase employee engagement and go beyond incremental innovation

3.      Generate a constant stream of ideas that have measurable business impact and truly drive growth

Strong University Connections:

The connection to smart students is vital to create today’s complex multi-faceted solutions. At Motorola Solutions, we have a strong network of university relationships around the world. We are able to connect with experts on given domain areas and bring technologists together for a greater purpose and program.

University connections create “win win” relationships. You can provide students with valuable experiences and enrich your company with the latest research and emerging concepts that are being evaluated in the academic arena. For example, our internal Science Advisory Board, which is comprised of our top technical staff, seeks out relevant expertise at universities to complement key development programs.

External Partnerships:

It’s critical to blend in the role of external companies to round out your skill sets and offerings.  By creating a partner ecosystem, you can develop a platform to work with other companies on specific, customized applications. Another approach is through venture investments to fuel startups that are solving the problems of tomorrow. Through partnerships, venture models or acquisitions, there is a synergy of technology and skills that a singular company could not achieve on its own.

The process to generate innovative ideas has grown from lone inventors to a multi-entity approach. The best aggregated teams are the ones solving the toughest product development problems.

Customer Co-Creation:

Working closely with customers is vital to validate new ideas and gain subtle insights that can separate failures from runaway successes. It’s important to approach customers who can show you their core problems and give you valuable feedback throughout the creation process.

Innovation can be thought of well beyond the four walls of your company. In addition to your employees’ talents and insights, bringing expertise from universities and teaming up with companies who have complementary skills and offerings can unlock big ideas. Staying close to forward-looking customers who share a vision for a better way will also help you achieve your best results.

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