Teaching how to engage is not the point


By Catalina Ortiz Lalinde, CEO of iNNpulsa Colombia.

Recently, a very important industrialist told me, very frankly: “I don’t understand the deal with group innovation. Companies have to innovate in order to compete, so what you have to do is to protect your ideas and make the most out of them”. He hit the nail on the head by stressing one of the biggest paradigms of innovation. Many companies develop innovation processes behind closed doors.

Opening up and telling the world about the challenges that we have as a company, and collaborating with others to find innovative solutions offends R&D purists who consider that solutions coming from external organizations pose a risk to their own jobs.

These fears are based on real fundaments, but it still doesn’t justify not betting for a possibly faster and more efficient open innovation program. The definition and principles are simple: it’s about “innovating with collaborators, sharing risks and benefits”, according to David Simoes from 100% Open.

At iNNpulsa Colombia we believe that the State can jump in and help incorporate this type of innovation into managerial and strategic business models. We launched the first State-funded open innovation program (innpulsacolombia/innovacionabierta) to speed up innovation processes and develop currently inexistent solutions for real business challenges. We hope to find win-win models for companies with challenges.

This program is the bridge with which we aspire to generate new collaborative and trusting relationships between companies that face corporate challenges and those who have innovative solutions.

A good example is the BHP case, a Chilean copper mining company that had the challenge to increase the product life of wires needed for movement and traction of 21 meter (as long as a four-story building) and 1.400 ton (equal to 900 cars) shovels. Prodinsa, the steel factory that provided maintenance services to BHP, had to replace the wiring constantly, which represented a waste of time and money. Prodinsa seeked an external solution, by implementing an open innovation plan, and found a solution in Aplik, a small company, specialized in manufacturing video cameras, that never imagined working for the mining sector.

This meant that BHP had 24 extra hours of wire availability, which represented 800,000 more tons. For Prodinsa, it meant the possibility to enhance its product, monitor wire wearing in real time, and carry out timely replacement (not before, and not more than necessary). To Aplik, it meant becoming a large global company.

The outer world does not only harbor competition, but also allies and growth solutions. So the only question left is: why not?

Catalina Ortiz L.
CEO of iNNpulsa Colombia

Bogota: +(57) 1 743-7939 The rest of the country: 01-8000-180-098
Address: Calle 28 No. 13 A 15 – 37th Floor, Bogota-Colombia.