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David Simoes-Brown
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Interesting discussion which goes to heart of what NESTA is about, which is having an effect. To have an effect on corporates Connect's thinking for the past 3 years has been: 1. Open Innovation is a good idea for everyone in an ecosystem. It's more productive, distributed and inclusive. 2. Corporates are often risk averse therefore adopting open innovation has been slower than it need be. The UK is in danger of getting left behind. 3. So to help rapid adoption of Open Innovation we're working with corporates, SMEs and distributed networks to discover how it works best. We think this will be better than either preaching at large firms or than a more academic approach. Brendan, corporates may well be capable of doing this themselves. But are they willing?
Toggle Commented Mar 1, 2010 on Open for Business Conference at NESTA Connect
Great post. Maybe the key is to go through each type of offer as an innovation programme progresses? 1. Vague offer. 'Who wants to be in my community? We can talk about the specifics later.' 2. Open offer. 'Now, can any of you help thinking through opportunities in my burning platform? It's about telehealth'. 3. Closed offer - 'I need some technology that sends texts when ill people fall over. Anyone got one of those? Given that the most succesful OI projects revolve around a community of sorts, maybe this could be a useful template?
Toggle Commented Dec 14, 2009 on Everything's an Offer at NESTA Connect
Hi Ben, your vision of a more equitable supply chain is one I for one sign up to! A lot of OI is about building up trusting and mutually dependent relationships. Sometimes IP is important to this, especially in protecting the smaller party though.
Hi Michael, I agree that the BAA example is a good example of a more open approach but I was trying to make the point that open innovation is more than 'just' collaboration, it's a deeper innovation partnership, what's more between those with unequal amounts of power. Open Innovation is indeed a shiny new thought but I do think it is substantively different because collaboration in innovation often becomes about who owns what rights to an invention.
Roland you're spot on here. What would the UK innovation system be like if it were demand led (what innovations do we need) rather than supply led (what innovations can we think of)? What if some of the subsidies keeping small firms alive were channelled into more effective innovation networks? What if those already running such networks were as good at brokering relationships as managing money? There will always be an argument for supporting innovative small firms, whether it be through grant or venture capital. But there is a more compelling argument for clients not cash.
thanks Adil, call me a hopeless optimist if you like but I think there are significant business reasons for innovating together. Open Innovation holds out the promise of 'Brighter Faster Cheaper' new products and services from the corporate perspective and it is this which I think may get around the usual blockers.
completely agree with this thesis and many current corporate open innovators spend all of their time in search mode. The issue for them is bandwidth. There's a limit to how many coffees with prospects they can take! One other area for enhanced detective skills is inside the company before you've even started the search for new ideas. Exactly what innovations does the firm need, when and why? I have a feeling that too many searches are rather aimless - searching for inspiration rather than specific solutions. In this way open innovation can be more strategic as opposed to a way of enhancing serendipity.
Toggle Commented Jun 25, 2009 on Becoming Innovation Detectives at NESTA Connect
Hi Brendan, thanks for your comment, which as an ex ad-planner (consumer representative)I have some sympathy for. The study we're doing is more from the corporate strategy perspective, that is how they are changing their budgets and priorities. Some of them of course will be fine-tuning these to changed consumer priorities and this is beginning to be reflected in the research results - one pertinent headline for now: "There is significantly more innovation focussed on responding to identified customer needs". The sample of over 400 companies covers so many markets I can't say what these needs are specifically, but it's clear that many corporates agree with you.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2009 on Innovating with less at NESTA Connect
Interesting debate, which I don't think we can separate from the effects of the economic downturn. NESTA and HI Newtork are doing some research into the response of corporate innovators at the moment and initial findings are that whilst there is significantly more innovation aimed at entering adjacent markets (radical) the biggest increase in innovation is in incremental improvements! This is beginning to confirm our hypothesis about the changing shape of innovation (see http://blogs.nesta.org.uk/connect/2009/03/innovating-with-less.html)which means that both the 'sexy' end of innovation (radical) and its more humdrum cousin the increment are both currently in vogue. It is the middle, mainstream innovation projects that are being squeezed. I agree with Jonathan that the tendency for 'innovation' to be shorthand for big, eye-catching change is to be challenged and that many useful innovations, whether they be humble consumer work-arounds or the advent of mountain biking, tend to be stepwise.