Let me give you an example from my career working with the Philips LCD team in the early 1990s. Although our office was located next door to the Wireless Technology team, the idea to combine wireless functionality with LCDs (i.e. a wireless display!) didn’t dawn on us at the time - by operating as two separate teams, we missed out on an opportunity. It's the downside to business silos!
Years later, however, I saw an excellent example of collaboration at Philips when both the Lighting and TV businesses cooperated to develop the Ambilight TV – merging lighting technology with flat screen TVs to create sophisticated effects that enhanced the user experience. Combining competences in two different business units, while leveraging a product leadership position and channel to market, resulted in a major market win for Philips.
At 3inno we’re spending more of our time helping companies to identify and assess attractive business growth opportunities by joining the dots across the silos. The programs usually commence with a 1-day workshop to engage staff, create awareness of common growth platforms, and generate new ideas. Without revealing too many tips and tricks, we've attached a skeleton 1-day workshop template to show how much progress can be made within a day.
Workshop template (shortened version)
- Inviting the right participants and briefing them beforehand
- Stretching thinking beyond current value chain roles and capability sets
- Preparing high-quality workshop stimulus materials
- Pre-selecting market themes for ideation, supported with market insight
- Minimising the use of PowerPoint
Here's our advice to executives: improving collaboration across silos can create superior growth opportunities, within shorter time-frames at lower levels of risk. If you are serious about revenue growth, invest time and resource in cross-business growth, but make sure you set the program up for success.
- 10 recommendations when setting up a group-wide revenue growth programme
- The 7 stages of successful online idea schemes (Part 1)
For more innovation tips, please visit: http://www.3inno.com/our-articles
Do you want to be more successful at innovation? I recommend the book Innovation Unplugged – helping managers prepare today’s business for future growth.
Director of 3inno