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Connexia joins forces with UC Berkeley on open innovation for NAOS

NAOS, the skincare multinational that operates in 100 countries, has been developing into a customer-centred organisation for a while and is now stepping up the digital transformation of its internal processes with help from Connexia’s innovation team.

 NAOS is now adding the exploration of open innovation approaches to its structured pathway of data strategy, envisioning and transformation of the organisational culture that sets out the roadmap for transforming the organisation into a data-driven company based on a solid data culture.

Helping NAOS with this strategic choice is Connexia’s innovation team led by Chief Innovation Officer Italo Marconi and assisted by Client Director Roberta Croce. They are working closely with Chiara Eleonora De Marco from the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation at the University of California Berkeley, where Henry Chesbrough created the theory and coined the term “open innovation.”

Unlike the classic process used to innovate and develop new products and organised manufacturing systems, open innovation is based on the assumption that ideas for new products, services or business models can come from inside or outside the organisation.

According to Henry Chesbrough, “Open Innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology.” So open innovation is a distributed innovation process based on purposively managed knowledge flows across organisational boundaries, using pecuniary and non-pecuniary mechanisms in line with the organisation’s business model.

According to cultures based on open innovation, “smart” people and entities also exist outside of the company and these can benefit that company. The same can also occur with research and development that originally comes from individuals, research centres or start-ups outside of the company.

Therefore employees can generate value for a company, but so too can companies from other sectors or even competitors.

 The open innovation approach, of which Procter & Gamble was one of the pioneers, is gradually being used more frequently in even Italy now,” emphasised Italo Marconi, Connexia’s Chief Innovation Officer. “For example, the brand-new concept of “innovability” coined by Enel comes to mind which places these processes in with the concepts of innovation and sustainability.

Connexia is interpreting open innovation with a special, unique focus on the innovation of business models, service models, technologies and methods of relating to consumers and employees within the company.”

Connexia’s approach to innovation involves pragmatism, imagination and efficacy.

The agency’s interdisciplinary workgroup of business, design and technology experts operates with the client’s top management to analyse NAOS’ current readiness for open innovation and define a toolbox of concrete actions that need to be taken to change the organisation.

“The research and culture developed solely within the boundaries of a company are no longer enough to create value,” said Denis Balbo, the Regional Head of Digital Brand Strategy at NAOS. “Thanks to the network, knowledge and innovation travel at increasingly faster speeds. This is also and more importantly why it becomes fundamental to open and be open to new models that give us faster access to information and the market-imposed change while undergoing a transformational process and place a major focus on developing the culture of the people and organisation.”