Why Now is the Time for “Open Innovation”

The concept of Open Innovation was originated by Henry Chesbrough in his book (of the same name) published in 2003. Chesbrough a lecturer a Berkeley and previously Harvard coined the phrase to explain how “a distributed, more participatory and more decentralised approach to innovation” can be more effective than any company attempting to innovate on their own.

A key to Open Innovation is that it takes aspects of the processes associated with Open Source Software, also it leverages the logic of effective supply chain management, but it goes much further to include the ideation and creativity in Universities and Academic institutions.

So Open Innovation has been around for a while but why is it so relevant now? The HBR article examines how during the COVID19 pandemic companies are coming together in unprecedented ways to create new value often ahead of immediate commercial gains.

Open innovation has the potential to widen the space for value creation: It allows for many more ways to create value, be it through new partners with complementary skills or by unlocking hidden potential in long-lasting relationships. In a crisis, open innovation can help organizations find new ways to solve pressing problems and at the same time build a positive reputation.” (Dahlander & Wallin, HBR, 2020)

Its time to forget about IP for a while

While concerns about retaining and controlling intellectual property are legitimate for most organisations, obsessing about IP can block opportunity for any open innovation. Smart companies are taking the ‘leap of faith’ by collaborating with partners to create new value.

Leverage two sided motivation

Motivation to participate in open innovation will not always be the same for all contributors, some people are driven ethics and a common good, some by potential of commercial return and others by the opportunities of partnering. No matter the specific reason, most important to the success of the partnership is that all parties recognise, understand and respect each others motivation.

Embrace new partners

Finding partners with complimentary skills and perspectives is essential to ensure the widest opportunities for success. Keeping an open minded attitude towards new partners during and after the crisis can help enterprises remain innovative as market conditions continue to change.

Urgency Leads transformation

It is hard for team or even a business unit to start a program of open innovation on their own. Too often initiatives hit a roadblock that slows pipeline and creativity. It requires executive leadership to drive on a much wider scale, clearing the bureaucratic hurdles and connecting, motivating and inspiring partners with all of the relevant incentives.

Key Takeaways

  • Open Innovation has been widely recognised as model for partnering effectively to create novel opportunities.
  • CoVID has created new motivation and new urgency to partner with a wider range of organisations
  • Not all partners have the same motivation, an effective program has incentives and goals that reward all partners
Synopsis of articles
from Harvard Business Review
Why Now Is the Time for “Open Innovation”
Published 5th June 2020
by Linus Dahlander and Martin Wallin

from Forbes
Everything You Need to Know About Open Innovation
Published 21st March 2011
by Henry Chesbrough

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