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From Food Tech Innovation Portal

Open Innovation

Why to deal with this? Open innovation is the process by which organizations use both internal and external knowledge to drive and accelerate their internal innovation strategy in order to fulfil existing market needs or to access new market opportunities.

The concept of open innovation implies that an organization has the willingness and desire to source and utilize external knowledge, ideas, intellectual assets and technologies, in addition to its internal capabilities, to identify solutions to problems, capitalize on opportunities, develop new technologies, create new products and services, improve processes, or design new organizational systems and business models. However, in practice it is still difficult for organisations to understand how to embark on an open innovation journey and begin implementing the concepts of open innovation. It takes significant cultural change for an organization to embrace open innovation thinking. Henry Chesbrough has been a great advocate for open innovation as demonstrated by his book Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating And Profiting from Technology, which describes the difference between closed and open innovation. The key characteristics of closed and open innovation are compared and contrasted in the table below:

Closed vs. open innovation, Source:

One instrument used in open innovation is crowdsourcing, a process in which a group of individuals outside the company is involved in the generation of ideas and added value for the company within a clearly defined framework (software, limited time, pre-defined conditions of participation, etc.)

When is it suitable/applicable? Open innovation has the ability to identify solutions to complex problems, capitalize on opportunities and develop new technologies which would not have been possible if the organization had merely looked internally for ideas. Using external knowledge also brings with it the potential to create new products and services, improve processes, or design new organizational systems and business models that simply would not have transpired if the organisation had not looked externally for solutions.

The initial research supporting the open innovation concept was developed in technology-based companies. But more recent research has extended the concept to a variety of industries outside of high-tech, such as consumer package goods and financial services. Currently, open innovation is mainly applied in large corporations, but SMEs can benefit from this strategy in two ways: by participating in the open innovation campaigns of large companies or by setting up their own open innovation strategy and benefit from external know-how, too.

When is it NOT suitable/applicable? Being informed about ongoing innovations in your area of activity is always useful. You should have a functioning IP and knowledge management system in place in order to benefit from Open innovation.
What costs are related to it (financial, time effort etc.)? Calculate time and associated cost to
  • Set up an Open Innovation strategy and manage the innovation process, including IP aspects
  • Overcome internal barriers (e.g. “Not-invented-here-Syndrome”, i.e. reluctance to accept and build on results which were not developed within your own R&D department)
  • Finding and implementing methods and tools to be used (costs)

What’s the relevant HTE output? This website “Food Tech Innovation Portal” offers you a very comprehensive insight into research results and food innovations as well as a directory of research partners from all over Europe. These can serve as a source of inspiration and information for your innovative projects.
Whom can I talk to from the HTE team? All partners (especially ZENIT and SP as Enterprise Europe Partners) should be able to signpost you to an organisation competent in open innovation.

Relevant internet links Links:
  • How to implement Open Innnovation:

Online databases and tools Tools:
Where to get advice, consultancy? Support:
Related innovation sheets Innovation management, Management x pre feasibility, Management x feasibility, Management x development, Management x launching

Title Open Innovation
Latest Version 05-07-2012
Completed by ZENIT

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Created by Hte zenit on 5 July 2012, at 15:57