Open Innovation, a New Way to Create Innovation

Open Innovation For years, companies have innovated using the perspective of Close Innovation.

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Open Innovation For years, companies have innovated using the perspective of Close Innovation. That is, companies have worked on projects in which innovation is only developed within their departments and in no case has the information circulated or been transmitted outside the walls of the company.

However, recently there has been the case in which some companies have decided to bet on a new way of creating innovation: Open Innovation. This new technique developed by Chesbrough et al. (2006) can be defined as “The intentional use of knowledge inputs and outputs to accelerate internal innovation, and expand markets for the external use of innovation, respectively”. This suggests that Open Innovation consists mainly of two activities:

  • Provide the company with outside knowledge.
  • And bring the company’s own internal knowledge abroad.

However, another crucial aspect for the correct implementation of the technique can be in the organization itself. In order to successfully transfer knowledge through the company’s barriers, it is important that it provides support to its employees and explains the importance of Open Innovation for the organization as a whole.

“Companies can decide to adapt the Open Innovation either because they believe in the concept or because they believe it is necessary to improve the performance of their organization.”

In the first case, some companies adopt Open Innovation because they believe in it. These companies believe in open business models and the added value that has been created. These companies have understood how to compete in a globalized market, which is already used by crowdsourcing or social media to get in touch with their customers, suppliers and users.

On the other hand, there are companies where the adoption of Open Innovation is a real business need, because in today’s economy there are many organizations that try to make the most of their resources and reduce their costs. In this sense, as Open Innovation also deals with the internalization of external ideas and innovation (which is often perceived as the creation of “outsourcing” ideas), it is possible to reduce R & D costs. These companies are not really interested in entering into a dialogue with their customers or users, if not in adding more external information (ideas, innovations) as possible.

The passage from Closed to Open Innovation is not an easy task and requires a time for the organization to acclimate and adapt to the new operation. However, all efforts to improve, even modest ones, are opportunities to practice innovative thinking and skills. The application of innovation practices can lead to change through continuous progress and creation of value, so that what could have been a small improvement becomes an incremental innovation that generates a strong competitive differentiation.