In today's ever-changing world, it has never been more difficult for a company to reconcile the awareness of the need to innovate with the anxiety of doing so, knowing that to remain stagnant in time means to be obsolete. Although this may seem like a modern maxim, the truth is that we can hardly realize how fast the world and its societies have evolved in such a short space of time. Why is that?

Cognitive psychology tells us that, as human beings, we have unconscious biases, i.e. automatic attitudes and judgments that occur unconsciously. I'm talking, for example, about the "normalcy bias", which is the tendency to believe that something that has never happened before will never happen, and the "optimism bias", which leads us to believe that the probability of experiencing negative events is lower for us than for others. These biases can be responsible for deluding us and preventing us from understanding the true pace of change and its impact on organizations.

Let's look at examples of recent changes: dial-up internet - which prevented landlines and could only be used for a few minutes because "grandma might be trying to call" - is now called 5G. Between cassettes and Spotify, we used CDs and iPods. Photographs that had to wait to be developed are now published in seconds. All this has happened in just 25 years. Seen this way, the change over this period, although gradual, has been drastic. Not only have consumer behaviors changed, but also companies - some have ceased to exist, while others have had to undergo a complete transformation to keep up with the times.

Nowadays, it's no longer enough to think about creating a new product or service, but you should consider the methodology itself, starting by innovating... in the innovation processes themselves. Looking specifically at our companies, although there are efforts being made in the approach to innovation, let's not allow ourselves to be influenced again by unconscious biases. We are facing an exponential rate of change, and the current linear approaches will not keep up with the times. We need to look at scalable innovation models that don't just rely on internal resources. This is where the importance of open innovation lies, in other words, creation that goes beyond the physical boundaries of companies. Companies must stop thinking of themselves as watertight entities and instead position themselves as creators of ecosystems.

By creating these ecosystems, they will be able to leverage resources, capabilities and connections beyond their internal boundaries, enabling the co-creation of solutions that respond to the future needs of their customers while promoting interactions with the outside world, ranging from the sharing of knowledge to the debate of ideas, exposure to criticism and new points of view.

As promoters of these ecosystems, these companies will be able to capitalize on this status by boosting collaborative programs, such as launching challenges, organizing events, constant validation processes with users, start-up accelerators, among others, thus promoting the involvement of students, researchers, start-ups, other companies and even ordinary citizens in solving structuring challenges for society.

The creation of these ecosystems does, however, require significant investment, and can be done from scratch, or through association with existing ecosystems that connect all these players. Some universities, such as Nova SBE, are taking a proactive stance to facilitate this path, thus accelerating the creation of multidisciplinary and multigenerational ecosystems. However, the real issue will be companies' ability to adapt and change their mindset towards a culture of experimentation and openness to the outside world.

If we carry out this paradigm shift, we will be ever closer to witnessing a new wave of disruption led by incumbent companies embedded in collaborative ecosystems.


This text is a republication of an article originally published by Exame - read the original here.

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