Open Innovation

Innovation is the main engine of growth for companies and leads to improvement in every day life. Innovative spirit is quite important in times of globalisation and increasing competition – but how can one create great new ideas? “Open innovation”, many people talk about it, but what does it mean exactly? The 47. Digital Dialog on 25 April 2017 tried to find answers to this question.

“Innovation is not compulsory, but then neither is survival.” Graham Horton

The concept of “open innovation” goes back to Henry Chesbrough (2003, USA). It describes the integration of external sources like ideas or the consumers’ general use of products and services No more fiddling around in a garage (even if this was cool some time ago) to surprise the market with a new product no one has waited for Ideas are generated directly at the place they are going to be used. Open innovation is an attitude you take to look at something new, to test, to challenge to build a community. It’s about cooperative development, a strategy that enterprises use by working together with external consultants. For small companies, it is not that clear if they use open innovation, especially when 17 percent of the audience of the Digital Dialog did not know it they do so.

Daniela Glatz, EVOLARIS, on the topic Users as Creators at the 47. Digital Dialog

At the University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands 605 small and medium companies were interviewed on the topic of open innovation. Open innovation was mostly seen as a strategic decision for bigger companies. When small and medium businesses work with open innovation they focus on clear objectives like to fulfil customer requirements or to derive competitive advantage. The survey states that a shift to open innovation leads to different consequences, depended if the company is a provider of services, production company, a small or medium size etc. Especially in cooperation with larger companies SMEs found huge barriers in organisational and cultural differences. The benefit in cooperation for innovation lies in the capture of new market segments.

Generally, open innovation reduces the risk of wrong decisions by integrating external sources of ideas. The process of ideation may seem more time consuming than the classical in-house development process due to multitude of ideas and data analysis. But you will benefit by opening your mind for open innovation.