Why businesses should think ‘inside-the-box’ to innovate

Open Activation’s five key ingredients for digital innovation

Unlike digital startups, mature businesses have a wealth of valuable assets they can use to innovate in the digital arena. They only have to know what these are and how to capitalise on them.
Who are your stakeholders? What are their talents and passions? What are their needs, problems and dreams?
Brand new digital innovation methodology Open Activation helps mature businesses to develop a strategic framework in which they identify their most valuable assets and transform them into digital innovations. I’d like to give you an introduction.

The ‘box’ of a mature business is filled with all the necessary assets and ingredients to create digital innovation -a brand with a rich history,a large number of diverse stakeholders, several products or services, properties and financial resources. Together they make up Open Activation’s five key ingredients for digital innovation: brand, people, products, property and budget.

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Innovation within the digital arena has nothing to do with hosting free-flowing brainstorms to find the ‘golden ticket’. This is evidenced in the piles of great concepts and ideas within large businesses that will never make it to implementation.
What is missing is a strategic vision and structure for leadership to benchmark and transform these assets into innovations. To develop this, the method of Open Activation based its framework on three principles: Connect, Activate and Purpose. Easy to remember as ‘How to CAP?’


Digital innovation starts with diversity and mutual connectivity of people and elements around your organisation. Who are your stakeholders? What are their talents and passions? What makes them unique and where can they add value? What are their needs, problems and dreams? The traditional linear supply chain (resourcing – manufacturing – distribution – retail – consumer) is replaced by a more interconnected and holistic system in which there is hardly any difference between ‘internal’ and ‘external’.

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A connection has no value without action. The digital revolution shifts doing business from “making people BUY”, to success based on the ability to “make people DO”.
Think about companies such as Google, Airbnb, Amazon, Spotify, WeTransfer, Shazam, Transferwise and the hundreds of gamification Apps. They don’t drive revenue from selling a product, but they capitalize on the action that it establishes. They #monetizeaction. The ultimate goal for future businesses is to create a system of self-sustaining action.


The tip of the spear is a common purpose. This is the inexhaustible source for action, inspiration and innovation. A purpose is closely related to the brand and stands for a higher goal or ideology that goes beyond profit and is shared by and relevant to every stakeholder. Great examples of common purposes are: Realise the potential (American Express), Inspire a Generation (London 2012), Open Happiness (Coca-Cola), Just do it (Nike), Improving Later Life (Age UK) and Celebrate Life (ID&T). What is your business’ purpose?

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