Why will open organisations win?



People respond well to openness. We warm to others who are open-hearted and open-minded. They seem to generate an aura of trust with nothing to hide and an inquisitive and positive attitude. 




Can we say the same of organisations? Many are hard to approach, defensive and highly selective about what they reveal. Many people would say that their experience of organisations is anything but open. Perhaps related, we do know that the level of trust in companies and state institutions is in long-term decline and that is bad for business and bad for society. So are there any organisations that are bucking this trend?




In fact the world of business is undergoing a profound change. Driven by social media and the development of the web, old secretive and closed cultures are giving way to more open engagement and collaborative innovation. Organisations as diverse as Lego, Ford and GSK are opening up to consumers becoming more accepting of ideas and innovations from outside. This is important because the old order of business is rapidly becoming disrupted. In an age where a seven year-old cab company (Uber) has a greater market capitalization than automotive giants Ford and GM, organisations need to change before they become disrupted from outside.


Becoming an open organisation often starts from the inside. 100%Open worked with Oxfam, using an internal crowd-sourcing platform called Oxfam Ovation to engage staff in a global efficiency drive. This sourced 100 new cost-saving ideas without the cultural disruption and suspicion that change programmes often create.




Organisational growth, differentation and survival no longer come from the ability to recruit and align employees around executing a well-understood and incrementally changing set of processes. In nearly every sector of the economy— including health care, defence, consumer goods, education, charities, telecoms, media and finance— the ability to rapidly adapt to disruptive trends, and to co-ordinate across internal and external boundaries, are becoming the most critical organisational capabilities. This is easier said than done, but this is in effect a call for greater and deeper partnerships and blurred or porous boundaries.


Culturally this means letting go of control and making generous offers to the outside world in the hope of receiving equally generous responses – 100%Open’s Give|Get philosophy. The ability to achieve and maintain world-class performance depends on the ability to successfully build win-win partnerships. These partnerships can be with consumers as well as other companies. The agency worked with Lego to build a strategy to co-create new products with its customers that had been implemented across the business, notably via LEGO Ideas, now the world’s largest crowdsourcing platform with 1 million members.


Open Organisation Test


As this fundamental shift gathers pace, questions about “why should we change” are giving way to questions of “how can we change”.  The Open Organisation Test is a new tool designed for making this transition. This tool creates ratings for 40 different dimensions in order to help prioritise process, personal and cultural development for successful opening up. Does an organisation have the right policies, processes and partnership approach? How about its purpose, people or platforms? Do its collaborations have sufficient pace and profitability for all partners to benefit?


Almost 500 tests have been taken so far across 50 organisations from Arup to Unilever. So far, these are the headlines:


How ready is your organisation for open innovation?


Totally ready                      21%

Nearly ready                      59%

Work to do                         17%

A lot of work to do               3%


This is a very positive picture with the aggregated score of the majority of organisations nearly or totally ready. Of course the sorts of companies that have visited the 100%Open site are predisposed to an open strategy, so perhaps the real picture is less rosy. Across the 8 ‘P’ categories of openness, a varied emerges. On average companies rate their People and their Platforms quite high. Employees are good connectors, well-networked and believe in external ideas. Organisations tend to have the right spaces and tools to share knowledge and test ideas. However ratings for Processes and Purpose are lower.  This suggests that organisations find creating the right procedures and resources hard and aren’t good at flexibly engaging externally or sharing information. Furthermore, they find it hard to communicate clear innovation briefs and make the right collaborative innovation choices.  100%Open found such an insight with UK Government client Dstl. The Open Organisation Test helped diagnose their specific barriers to open innovation. This has resulted in a major new initiative to create a defence and security open innovation network, promoting UK growth via innovative SMEs and Universities. 


One concluding observation is about the Pace of innovation that organisations are reporting. The more open they are, the faster they innovate and evolve. They have what it takes to be responsive collaborators, they can prototype and iterate fast and provide easy access to the right people and facilities. In a business world where speed is becoming increasingly relevant, this is important. In fact the key promise of open innovation is that it gets you better innovation faster and cheaper. From the Open Organisation Test data, this seems to be coming true. 


Thanks for reading.  If you’re interested in taking the Open Organisation Test please check it out here.  And let us know how you find it.


David Simoes-Brown is Co-Founder at 100%Open (david@100open.com).



Photograph: 100%Open.            


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The Curve has been shortlisted for the Energy Productivity Innovation Challenge 2016

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, October 13, 2016 - The Curve has been shortlisted for the Energy Productivity Innovation Challenge (EPIC) among 21 finalists. The shortlist, from a total of 80 entrants, was announced at the International Energy Agency’s Innovation in Energy Efficiency conference in Paris on 13 October.

Commenting on the announcement, Jim Woods, CEO of The Crowd, a sustainability incubator behind The Curve, said: “We’re believers in moonshot thinking, creating very ambitious goals that generate momentum. Our mission is to accelerate the complete removal of carbon emissions from the energy consumed by business with the help of the platform. We’re glad to see that others share our passion and believe that The Curve could be an enabler of that.” 

The Curve competed against 80 entrants from global technology companies and innovators from all over the world, which entered their solutions and recommendation policies in the following categories; homes, buildings, mobility, systems and finance. 

The EPIC winners will be selected by the jury committee and will be announced at the Low Emissions Solutions Conference at the UN Climate Summit - COP22 in Marrakech on 13-16 November 2016. The committee consists of the leading minds in the energy efficiency and sustainability space, including the likes of;


  • Iain Campbell, MD Rocky Mountain Institute’s Building Programme 
  • Juan Carlos Rubio Castilla, CEO Planetary Skin Institute 
  • Nicholas Eisenberger, MD, SuperCollider 
  • Dan Hamza Goodacre, Director, ClimateWorks 
  • Anirban Ghosh, VP Group Sustainability, Mahindra 
  • Brian Motherway, Head of Energy Efficiency, IEA 
  • Joel Makower, Founder Greenbiz.com 

For more information about The Curve, visit http://thecurve.me/ or get in touch with Elina Yumasheva at elina@thecrowd.me or on +442071609864. 

About EPIC

EPIC – the Energy Productivity Innovation Challenge – is a global initiative devised and delivered by Energy Unlocked with funding from ClimateWorks. Entries were invited from global technology companies and innovators between June and September 2016. A jury of clean energy pioneers and experts including – ClimateWorks Foundation, Rocky Mountain Institute, International Energy Agency, World Green Buildings Council, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the B Team – announced 21 regional finalists on 13-14 October at the IEA’s Innovation in Energy Efficiency event. For more information, visit http://epic.energyunlocked.org/ 

About The Curve

The Curve is the TripAdvisor for energy management. It's a peer-to-peer platform that allows companies to share their energy project experience, so that everyone can learn from each other. By focusing on business case data, organisations can find the best returns and star ratings, avoid projects that don't work, draw up business cases and identify the leading suppliers. It's all about advancing energy productivity, drawing inspiration from the market transformation achieved by platforms such as Airbnb, Waze and TripAdvisor. For more information, visit http://thecurve.me/


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