Stefan Lindegaard , speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor from Denmark and founder of 15inno



YourStory spoke to Stefan Lindegaard a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor. He helps companies on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation. He shares his experience and insight on innovation and intrapreneurship

What do you mean by open innovation?

Open innovation is to bridge internal capabilities and external capabilities, resources. Innovation is global and cannot happen at one place. Right now we are on a steep learning curve. Companies have to work with external partners. Thus innovation needs to be open and global to be productive.

Working with external partners is not new, some people say open Innovation is hype and companies have worked with external partners for years but open innovations puts innovation at the core of any successful company. It has to systemic and the challenge is to create an external focus rather than an internal focus. 5 years from now all companies will have a large external component. Innovation will drive the future of companies.

Importance of intrapreneurship

It’s about encouraging businesses within businesses. It is giving freedom to the employees and help them explore new opportunities. It could be innovating around the core but sometimes you will see innovation resulting in other business areas. We need processes to facilitate that. This is very important when you see your business has matured and you need to explore new business areas.

If you are an ambitious company you need to encourage intrapreneurship. Companies should be able to have a culture where people are allowed to innovate. Its also about having a platform where the right people are recognized for the job.

I help companies to set up an environment where intrapreneurship is encouraged. One way I have done that is through corporate business plan competitions which have been successful. When I do workshops and sessions I try to influence the mindset of the people. I tell them why open innovation is important and how to train and develop people who could do this.

Do you see companies giving more importance to innovation?

Some companies have realized they do need to build a bridge between the external and internal resources. Some companies have created specific job functions where in they have open innovation managers

Do you see this trend growing? Yes

How should companies approach it? Why should companies give importance to open innovation?

Many companies have not done so well when it comes to internal innovation seem to think that open innovation is the “holy grail” through which they can encourage innovation. But usually its not the case and we have seen that companies that do not foster innovation within themselves can’t achieve success through open innovation.

Companies need to define what innovation means to them and they should develop an innovation strategy. The innovation strategy should be aligned with the core business. Then you can implement initiatives and start building a platform to encourage open innovation.

Your advice to startups and entreprenurs.

My advice is that small companies should be part of a win-win relationship with big companies. Make sure that both partners benefit from this. Interact with companies that have a culture of open innovation which honors the relationship with smaller companies. Some big companies “Innovation bullies” hope to have their way and usually lose out as smaller partners are weary of engaging with them.

The current scenario is that you can’t be an isolated entity in the larger scheme of things. Its no longer one company fighting against another but one ecosystem fighting against another. Small companies and startups should make sure that they find the right partners to collaborate with.

The idea behind the name 15inno

'O' is the 15th letter of the alphabet and we chose it because it represents open innovation. I believe innovation of the future will be open and global. I see 15inno as a facilitator of open innovation and want to be a player in the open innovation space. I am part of events where people discuss about innovation. I hope to launch an open innovation world tour where in I will help companies learn about innovation and take part in workshops and sessions. I want to be a matchmaker of sorts where in I will help companies partner with each other.

Open innovation tour will be underway this summer and I plan to do many such events per year.

Your entrepreneurial journey

I always saw myself as an entrepreneur. I sold flowers when I was a kid and always earned my own money. I ran media businesses in college and always knew I wanted to do something on my own. After a stint at Maersk I started three companies and 15inno is my 4th venture. I see myself as a lifestyle entrepreneur where my focus is not money and want to do something challenging. In my previous roles I have helped numerous startups prepare their business plan and achieve success and now I want to help bigger companies achieve innovation.

15inno by Stefan Lindegaard helps innovation leaders with their challenges and issues through peer-to-peer networking groups and learning sessions. Our services include:

- Corporate Mind Exchange (CMX) events in which corporate innovation leaders discuss relevant challenges and issues. No academics, consultants or start-ups; just corporate practitioners.

- Network groups in which 12-20 innovation leaders from different companies meet 4-6 times annually to discuss challenges and issues.

- Workshops and events with thought leaders and practitioners.

- Access to insights and knowledge on innovation through our web site.

Leadership+Innovation group on LinkedIn, where you can discuss innovation in a global virtual forum. This group is open for everyone interested in innovation.

To read more about Stefan and some very interesting articles on open innovation visit




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