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What is open innovation?

Thu Apr 30, 2020
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Open innovation describes a business or organisation ‘opening up’ their innovation process in order to gain knowledge and ideas from external sources

Open innovation describes a business or organisation ‘opening up’ their innovation process in order to gain knowledge and ideas from external sources.

Rather than relying solely on an internal research and development department, for example, open innovation allows a company to access a wider pool of ideas and technology to solve a challenge. Often, sharing data plays a crucial role in supporting effective collaboration between organisations, and the ODI is a strong advocate for open innovation.

There are different reasons for an organisation to embrace open innovation, such as:

  • Getting a fresh perspective on a problem
  • Access to new talent, expertise and creativity
  • Increased capacity and faster development processes
  • Reduced costs

To run a successful open innovation process requires trust between participating organisations, and commitment to a shared outcome. It can be challenging to find the right partners, adapt to open ways of working, and even identify the scope of the problem you are trying to solve. The ODI has supported a wide range of organisations in both the public and private sectors to deliver open innovation projects, including:

  • Data Pitch: an EU-funded programme that brought together organisations to share data with startups in order to solve business and societal challenges
  • Service Delivery Models: working with local councils to redesign services through open innovation
  • Open Data Challenge Series: a series of seven challenge prizes to generate innovative and sustainable open data solutions to social problems

Find out more about how we can support you to adopt open innovation approaches