Open Innovation concept

What is Open Innovation
Today the way science works is fundamentally changing and an equally important transformation is taking place in how companies and societies innovate. The advent of digital technologies is making science and innovation more open, collaborative, and global.

Open Innovation has been defined as “the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively.” (Chesbrough, 2003). That means that organisation boundaries (e.g. of companies, universities, research centres) become more permeable for innovation processes, enabling the systematic matching and integration of resources like for example knowledge or equipment between the organisation and external collaborators. This is necessary because especially digitalisation, globalisation and the dynamics they generate in society, science and the economy present huge challenges for organisations to keep pace with the global innovation race. In many cases, questions cannot be resolved by internal means alone.

Such cases require a systematic search for relevant solution knowledge outside of the organisation. Bill Joy from Sun Microsystems gets to the heart of it when he says: “Not all smart people work for us.” His sentence is an emerging paradigm that becomes more and more important for future success of almost all types of organisations.

To master the increasingly complex challenges of innovation the various stakeholders involved must engage in new forms of cooperation. Therefor Open Innovation goes beyond addressing just the business sector but focuses on the expansion of knowledge and innovation processes in science and research. It is not any longer based on the Triple Helix Model of university-industry-government relationships but on a Quadruple Helix Model (read more here) where government, industry, academia and civil participants work together to co-create the future and drive structural changes far beyond the scope of what any one organization or person could do alone.