In this current global market, it’s not enough to compete on price alone. There are so many in-store effectivenesscompanies competing for consumers’ attention – even price points fluctuate daily, if not hourly. Even worse, getting noticed is only becoming more difficult. Consumers know what they want – in fact, they are more willing to buy a product that meets their personal requirements than purchasing the lowest-priced item that doesn’t meet expectations. Enter the need for continuous innovation.

What do you do when consumers demand a product that complements your offerings, but is outside your business’ expertise? Do you just sit idly, watching your competitor out-innovate you and steal your customer base in one swoop? Of course not!

Companies aren’t looking just to their major suppliers to solve business problems or come up with the next big thing. They’re connecting with smaller groups and individuals who have great ideas that could otherwise pass them by.

Take into consideration Procter & Gamble (P&G). Although the company sold its first product over 175 years ago, only recently has it become the innovation powerhouse it is today. By outsourcing its innovation initiatives to individual inventors, chemical suppliers, universities, and even competitors (gulp!), P&G has launched popular products such as the Crest Spinbrush, Olay Regenerist creams, probiotic supplements, and Press’n Seal plastic wrap. The collaboration has been so successful that P&G can attributes US$3 billion of its annual sales growth to its business network.

Could you benefit from a business innovation model like P&G’s? With an open-source strategy that expands your innovation network, you can deliver products that are beyond your company’s traditional expertise. Plus, if the products satisfies a customer need – like all successful products do – it presents an opportunity to broaden your customer base and increase revenue that otherwise would be lost to a competitor.

Luckily, it’s easier now than ever before to create a business network like this. Advances in business networking, cloud computing, social media, and mobile technology are helping companies connect, communicate, and collaborate with their supplier network. Those that partner effectively and securely with their business network can bring innovative products to market faster than their competitors, boost efficiency, improve visibility, increase agility, and mitigate risk.

How do you get started? Take a look at the infographic below to find out what it takes to create a successful business network.