Together with the platform provider, Innoget, the research group System Reliability, Adaptive Structures, and Machine Acoustics SAM of Technische Universität Darmstadt developed an Open Innovation Marketplace. Once registered at the marketplace, users from the university and the industry are invited to post tech calls, if they are looking for a technology or to post tech offers, if they have technology solutions to offer. The marketplace facilitates the process of finding the right research partner.
STAGE 1: SETUP AND EVALUATION OF THE MARKETPLACE
The online platform, provided by Innoget, must be customised to fit the needs of a university Open Innovation Marketplace. Therefore, some adaptions are necessary. The design of the marketplace must be in line with the university’s corporate design, for example. Furthermore, the university has to learn how to use and manage the marketplace.
STAGE 2: INTRODUCING THE OPEN INNVATION MARKETPLACE TO THE PUBLIC
The Open Innovation Marketplace needs to be opened up for the public. Researchers, as well as industry partners need to be informed and motivated to join the marketplace. On the one hand, the university can send invites to researchers and companies they have worked with. On the other hand, people who are interested in getting access to the Open Innovation Marketplace can register themselves. But still, the university needs to check the quality of the registrations in order to avoid fake or incomplete accounts. Once the new users joined the marketplace, they need to get accustomed to the marketplace’s functionalities. Otherwise, they can ask for support from the university.
STAGE 3: MAINTAINING THE OPEN INNOVATION MARKETPLACE
Once the marketplace is running, it is very important to keep it alive. Therefore, the user’s opinions on possible improvements must be evaluated. By means of feedback mechanisms, the suggestions need to be collected and implemented. Tech calls and tech offers posted by users need to be checked, regarding the quality to ensure interesting and valuable content on the marketplace.
TOUCHPOINT: MARKETPLACE PROVIDER – MARKETPLACE MANAGER
Innoget as the platform provider offers the platform to the university, the platform manager. Both have to jointly setup the marketplace. Furthermore, they have to agree on terms and conditions for the provided Open Innovation Marketplace.
TOUCHPOINT: MARKETPLACE MANAGER – MARKETPLACE USERS
The marketplace manager must engage and motivate new users to join the marketplace and to post content. He supports the users, if necessary, and gives feedback to the platform provider.
TOUCHPOINT: MARKETPLACE MANAGER – TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OFFICE
The technology transfer office of the university is a main hub for the innovation processes of the university. The technology transfer office supports the marketplace manager by helping to promote the marketplace and to actively use the platform.
BARRIER 1: USER ENGAGEMENT
The main bottleneck is the engagement of users to the marketplace. The marketplace manager must convince the users to be active on the marketplace and to post content. The value of the marketplace highly depends on the number of active users and the amount of active content.
BARRIER 2: TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE MARKETPLACE
The marketplace provider is interested in selling the service of a provided platform to the marketplace manager. In turn, the marketplace manager must be convinced that the return on investment is appropriate.
The marketplace itself is provided by Innoget. Their aim is to evaluate the chances of a university-managed Open Innovation Marketplace. The main success factor is a well programmed and reliable platform.
The research group, SAM manages the marketplace, regarding user and content management. The main success factor is the willingness of the users to actively contribute to the marketplace. A critical mass of users and tech calls/tech offers are necessary to ensure the marketplace stays alive. To motivate users to join the marketplace and to actively post content is a crucial point.
The TU Darmstadt technology transfer office incorporates the role of a marketplace booster. They are highly experienced in technology transfer and they have a great number of connections to industry partners. Therefore, the involvement of the TU Darmstadt technology transfer office is of main importance.
- Discuss the terms and conditions of a long-term use of the marketplace at a very early stage in order to ensure a sustainable marketplace.
- Prepare and customise the provided platform well to meet the university’s needs. The better the marketplace is prepared, the easier it is for the users to be active on the marketplace.
- Get the potential users well informed about what to expect from the marketplace and motivate them to join.
- Maintain the marketplace. The posted tech calls and tech offers need to be checked for quality in order to make sure, only valuable content is presented to the users.