How can small companies participate effectively in open innovation? That’s the central focus of Stefan Lindegaard’s new book, Making Open Innovation Work.

How can small companies participate effectively in open innovation? That’s the central focus of Stefan Lindegaard’s new book, Making Open Innovation Work.

So much attention has been focused on large companies and how they should expand their strategy to include open innovation. Meanwhile, small companies – which rarely have a chief innovation officer, much less an innovation strategy – have been largely overlooked. Until now.

Lindegaard provides a straightforward set of recommendations and case histories for how large and small companies can work together, and how to make these types of partnerships work.

“I believe small companies have an important role to play in open innovation, both for themselves and for large corporations. For small companies, an open innovation partnership can provide access to resources needed to hit it big, such as distribution channels or production resources. In many cases, small companies have been founded by entrepreneurs who have tremendous scientific and technological expertise. Corporations need access to this expertise and the innovative ideas and solutions that can grow out of it.”

Many small companies have no idea how large companies view open innovation. If small companies don’t get educated fast, he warns, they may be at a serious disadvantage. “In the long run, both small and big companies will lose if they do not meet on equal terms.”

This list of chapter titles will give you an idea what this practical guidebook covers:

  • Definitions
  • The benefits of open innovation
  • When big companies meet small companies in open innovation eforts
  • Getting your company ready for open innovation
  • Getting your people ready for open innovation
  • What to consider before leaping into a partnership
  • Making it work
  • Why things go wrong
  • Innovation marketplaces
  • IPR and open innovation
  • Using social media tools

Each chapter ends with key take-aways, to help make it a more actionable resource for you.

In my opinion, Stefan Lindegaard has stepped up during the last few years to become the chief evangelist and educator for the strategy of open innovation. As such, his advice carries a lot of weight. He has worked with and talked to more companies employing open innovation than anyone I know. This new book reflects the best of his findings. It includes interviews with experts and practitioners, as well as case studies that you can learn from. It also contains something that too many innovation books overlook: A chapter on how things can go wrong. Often, these types of stories are more instructive than the successes.

Lindegaard practices what he preaches, offering Making Open Innovation Work using a unique distribution model:

  • The full book is available as a free download now, in PDF and Microsoft Word document formats; a Kindle version will be available shortly
  • You can buy the book in a paperback version from, if you want a physical copy of the book that you can mark up and jot ideas on

His main goal is to spread the word about open innovation. If you decide to share the electronic version of Making Open Innovation Work with your colleagues, he simply asks that you mention his blog and his Twitter name to them.

I’ve always been impressed with Stefan’s work, and this new book is no exception. You owe it to yourself to get your hands on Making Open Innovation Work, especially if you’re trying to build the case for open innovation in your company. If you lead a small company, than you should consider this a must-read, so you’re ready when a larger company comes knocking on your door, wanting to partner or license your key technology.