Open-X: Open innovation in a business context

There’s a lot going on about open source, open innovation, collaboration, transparency,… But what is open? How can you create an open business-system that is still economically viable? What do you have to open-up? The Open-x Roadmap, a tool created by wallfish, can help you in defining where you want to open-up your business model, how you’re going to engage with people and on what level.


Why is open innovation necessary in a sustainable environment?

First of all, should you care about open innovation (and why)? When talking about sustainability, there’s this dogma that organisations are pushed by their market. Wether or not a company focusses on sustainability is chosen by their customers. This is not only false, it also gives companies a permit to keep the business as usual strategy intact.

This however does not mean you can’t ask your customers how they want you to improve. We’re evolving from our short-tail towards a long tail economy where mass-production gets replaced by mass-customization. By involving people in the process of making a product, doing business,…, you will create a better, healthier and more active relationship with you customers. Consumers on the other hand tend to look after their purchases with more respect if they were involved in some way. This will automatically extend the life-cycle and period of use of a product or service.

How does the tool work?

The main idea of this tool is that you define in 7 steps, from idea to life cycle (waste, reuse, mend, re-, up- or downcycle) how and where you can involve your community. It can be used both to map how open your organisation, products or services are, or guide you to think about further improvements on open-innovation.

Data availability

Sharing data is a crucial step for opening a product or service. It is by sharing this data, that you can enhance people to think about it and share their thoughts or other ideas. Sharing your technical drawings with your users, being transparent about how your business model really works,but also releasing new research topics are ways of sharing data with the world.

Reading the user
Involving users in the most simple way, just by listening or by observing is a first step in involving the user in the product life cycle. One way interaction defines this basic user involvement step A poll for the final product-color, giving the possibility to post new product-ideas or letting people share how they use your product are examples which already happen all over the world.

Interacting with the user
Working together with the user in one or more product life cycle steps has proven to be a useful advantage for brands. Capturing information from test-groups and reflecting on that information instantly shortens not only lead time but makes it a product from the people. Co-creation sessions, interactive interviews or co-design processes are great examples.

Enhancing communities
Companies that have build communities around one or more steps will agree their brand has true ambassodors who generate a lot of useful information. From idea to product to recycling, every phase can use communities Starting from a simple forum where people can discuss with other users, to social product development initiatives like are good examples of an open-x community.

You can download a PDF-version of the tool here. On the cases-page you can see some worked out cases.


About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.

One comment

  1. Pingback: 5 big trends for the future | Keep the game, change the rules

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