Transforming your firm in R&D innovation approach from a closed to an open one promises huge benefits. Increased agility and effectiveness, lowered risk and revenue growth through new products are some of them. In this In-Depth Article Frank Mattes shows how a firm can find the best approach to R&D-driven Open Innovation (Outside-in) based on the insights from a number of projects in this space.

Open innovation in R&D is in the top spots of the agenda for many innovation managers. It describes a concept that after its implementation improves  agility, effectiveness and the risk position by opening up the innovation funnel to absorb external expertise.

R&D-driven open innovation is a powerful lever for enhancing the firm’s innovativeness since it multiplies the firm’s R&D resources. Two examples may highlight the point: Procter&Gamble has 9,000 people employed in its various R&D units – and estimates the global number of experts in its technology fields to be two million. And Merck Inc. estimates that although it is a global leader in its field it produces only one percent of the relevant global patents every year. Both of these firms see open innovation as an effective way for engaging the innovative potential of the thousands of brilliant minds outside the firm.

In the wake of open innovation pioneers, more and more firms from a broad range of industries have also started to open up their approach to innovation. Judging by case evidence and by numerous benchmarking studies most of the firms are pursuing one or the other open approach to innovation already – but only few have a well-architected, fully integrated and managed open innovation portfolio in place.

This article provides the necessary knowledge to do a critical assessment of the existing open approaches to innovation, to identify additional opportunities and to plan for a professional implementation. Learn from experiences and insights from 20 proven approaches from globally leading firms that are highlighted to inspire your organization to put an effective open innovation system in your R&D in place.

A systematic open approach to innovation will benefit your organization by:

  • having more choices for solving scientific and technical problems
  • realizing shorter time-to-market
  • offloading R&D risk to innovation partners
  • having increased chances for successful breakthrough innovations
  • extending the firm’s base of external innovators and suppliers

By Frank Mattes

About the author:

Frank Mattes has more than 15 years of experience in managing projects and innovation. He has worked for several specialized medium-sized consulting companies and for The Boston Consulting Group. He also worked at C-level for an IT and a professional services firm.

Frank founded and runs the innovation catalyst innovation-3. The consultants, experts, specialists and academics in the innovation-3 network are convinced that innovation management is entering a third generation characterized by a paradigm shift towards openness, cross-industry innovation, competition for the best innovation networks, business model innovation and polycentric structures to manage innovation.

These areas constitute Frank’s innovation focuses – and are complemented by deep expertise in change management. Frank is the author of several books and a contributing editor to InnovationManagement, the number one platform for innovation management practitioners.