Open Innovation: How To Achieve It With Startups And Large Companies

When it comes to Open Innovation, numerous doubts always arise, dilemmas, and various perplexities about what it is and how to achieve it.

The Definition Of Open Innovation

To clarify the ideas, we can start from its definition, which was given in 2003 by Henry Chesbrough (director of the Garwood Center, the University of Berkeley). According to his definition, Open Innovation would be an open approach to innovation.

It is, therefore, a question of what can be considered on a par with a real philosophy that affirms the right (or better: the duty) of companies to grow by also resorting to external and internal ideas. This is because, despite globalization and the constant growth of numerous entrepreneurial realities, no company can grow effectively by itself without relying on other realities.

To all intents and purposes, what is destined to be created is a real circle that includes various entrepreneurial realities. Cooperation relations must be established with other companies operating in their sector, research centers, universities, companies in other sectors, and so on. Only in this way can it increase one’s technological skills, helping other companies grow together. On the other hand, this concerns technological development and the competitive advantage of some companies over other companies in the entire ecosystem.

This is why we are dealing with Open Innovation, which is opposed to Closed Innovation. The latter represents the inverse paradigm, also affirming the things directly contrary.

The Closed Approach

In particular, Closed Innovation establishes that in order to innovate, it is not necessary to collaborate with other companies; you can also do it within the “confines” of your business. However, over time this approach to the market has proved particularly inconvenient. In fact, this approach is simply not enough to give the whole company that extra edge that the latter might need. Thanks to the precepts of Open Innovation, it is possible to open the horizons to new scenarios by better protecting intellectual property. Furthermore, thanks to this approach, it has also become possible to take new paths. It is no coincidence that the largest companies in the world rely on everything related to Open Innovation, an approach that helps them.

How Does Open Innovation Work

The beautiful country, as has often happened in recent years, is a bit behind compared to many other states. While it has not yet reached optimum levels, it is growing rapidly. More and more companies decide to take the path of Open Innovation and implement it also because it is the one that brings the greatest advantages. It is no coincidence that many consider it to be on a par with one of the most effective profit opportunities ever, especially for all those entrepreneurial realities that deal with everything related to innovation. Just think of the many software companies, consultants, or intermediaries able to provide a wide range of services or products oriented towards this type of paradigm.

It doesn’t take long to take this kind of path: all you need is simply the desire for innovation. Open Innovation has always been configured as a kind of bidirectional flow that can generate various advantages for the numerous companies involved in this process, also based on quite different dynamics, among which we must remember the Outside process and by Inside process. In both cases, we are dealing with key concepts that are the basis of the philosophy linked to Open Innovation: they should not be underestimated.

Collaboration with other companies

Even if speaking of Open Innovation and how to achieve it, the possibility of collaborating with other companies operating in the same sector or other sectors is always mentioned, but the same processes are not decentralized. However, many occur within the company structure and can be easily controlled, thanks to the use of knowledge and skills related to the company itself. Relations with external companies only serve to increase the company’s possibilities further.

Such an approach also allows for a deep synergy between incubators, large companies, startups, universities, etc. Therefore, we enter what can be considered to all intents and purposes as a complete circle equipped with everything necessary for the company’s development. This happens not only in the rest of the world but also in Italy, a country where digitization and various innovative processes have always encountered numerous obstacles and difficulties.

Open Innovation: How To Achieve It With Large Companies And Startups

Finally, we can ask ourselves how to implement the Open Innovation processes for startups or large companies. At first glance, this might seem quite complex. On the other hand, it is still a process that must be implemented sooner or later. Otherwise, the company goes into a phase of profound stagnation and cannot go on despite various attempts. Those who give up in the era of digitalization and information technology are destined to lose that extra gear that can often and willingly bring many advantages.

However, right from the start, there is a big problem: how to start the processes related to Open Innovation in your company? It is here that the greatest difficulties and problems arise. What are the first steps to take?

In order not to be mistaken, the first thing you do is create a complete network of various contacts. We are not talking about contacts only with large companies but also with startups, institutions, or organizations. The important thing is that all the contacts created can collaborate effectively. Precisely for this reason, it is advisable to pay close attention to everything concerning the research of the realities with which one can collaborate.

Partnership in Open Innovation

The partnerships created with other realities must be solid and lasting over time. Without respecting this characteristic, nothing will simply be done. It is also better if these realities could help each other to create innovative business opportunities valid for all. Precisely in this way, we are able to grow together, which is one of the essential precepts of Open Innovation.

Once a partnership network has been created, it will be necessary to intervene to develop and test all aspects of it. For some, it is a question of what can in effect be considered as an entity in its own right, which therefore deserves special attention. Integrating a strategy with subsidized finance and developing 360 ° innovation financing projects will be necessary.

You cannot expect to carry out all these tasks right away. It will take time, perseverance, dedication, and financial investments of no small importance.

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