The promise of open innovation

While the idea goes back to the 60s, Henry Chesbrough, faculty director of the University of California’s Center for Open Innovation, coined the expression ‘open innovation’ in 2003. He defined it as ‘a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas, as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as firms look to advance their technology’.

In 2006, in his book Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm, Chesbrough further explained this approach as ‘the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively.

In this sense, this model offers a new way to create value. Open innovation allows you to have:

// An extended reach and capacity for new ideas, technologies and different perspectives on challenges, broadening your view (the places you look and your ability to see what’s there)

// The ability to leverage innovation initiatives on someone else’s budget

// Opportunities to refocus your internal resources on screening and managing implementation

// The ability to conduct strategic experiments at lower levels of risk and resources, with opportunities to extend your core business and create new sources of growth

// Incorporation of customers early in the development process: you can call on your customers to determine the challenges to address, or, if concepts have been approved for analysis or implementation, your customers can participate in the ideas’ evaluation and development

// The potential for viral marketing: if the angle you set is pertinent to the targeted audience, these types of initiatives are often spontaneously shared via online communication and social networks

// Over time, opportunities to create a more innovative culture from ‘outside in’, through continued exposure to, and relationships with, external innovators.

Innovation beyond closed corporate walls

Pedro da Cunha, Exago’s co-founder/ pdc@exago.com

Open innovation and the fight for your audience