The final segmentation needed in selecting specific external technology providers is to carefully evaluate the technical subject matter expertise, and relationship management maturity level of the supplier. The following “Business Relationship Checklist” provides an outline to use during such evaluations. The checklist is designed for extensive evaluation of major external projects and partners. An abbreviated analysis is used for smaller entities and projects.

Business Relationship Checklist


It should be noted that the above discussion has focused on Open Innovation with products or technologies. However, when manufacturers develop a process innovation, they frequently seek to keep it under wraps. But that’s often not the best approach. The research of Georg von Krog showed that manufacturers can benefit substantially when they look for ideas beyond their own organization, especially when their operations are already advanced. The study specifically tested how research involving external knowledge sources (such as customers, suppliers, universities, research institutes, and competitors) and the use of information technology to boost internal knowledge absorption improved process innovation performance.