How Open Innovation Revolutionizes Employer Branding

In a rapidly changing work environment, companies must position themselves as attractive employers. Attracting and retaining top talent has become increasingly challenging due to several factors. The competition for skilled professionals is fierce, with more companies vying for the same pool of talented individuals. Additionally, modern job seekers have higher expectations, seeking not only competitive salaries but also meaningful work, opportunities for growth, and a positive company culture. These demands make traditional methods of recruitment and retention insufficient and ensure that corporates must pursue new and more innovative paths.

One effective strategy to achieve this is through open innovation. But what exactly does open innovation mean, and how can it support employer branding?

Quick Overview

If you're short on time but still want to capture the crucial insights from this blog post on enhancing employer branding through open innovation, we've distilled the key points for you here:

  1. Competitive Talent Landscape: Attracting and retaining top talent is increasingly challenging due to fierce competition and high expectations from modern job seekers.
  2. Role of Employer Branding: Strong employer branding is crucial for attracting talent, retaining employees, and creating a positive corporate culture. It helps companies stand out in a competitive market.
  3. Benefits of Open Innovation for Employer Branding:
    • Innovative Image: Positions the company as forward-thinking and dynamic, attracting progressive and creative candidates and enhancing brand value.
    • Engagement and Motivation: Increases employee engagement and motivation by involving them in new ideas and projects, promoting a culture of continuous learning.
    • Network and Reach: Expands the company’s network by collaborating with external talents, universities, and startups, showing openness to innovation.
    • Attractiveness to Top Talent: Helps target and attract top talents in specific fields, aligning the talent pipeline with long-term strategic goals and assessing cultural fit.
  4. ekipa’s Future Makers Program:
    • Connects companies with innovative talents from universities and colleges, ensuring content fit with corporate needs.
    • Facilitates direct contact opportunities to assess cultural fit.
    • Supports building sustainable talent funnels based on specific challenges, allowing efficient recruitment of high-potential candidates.

The Importance of Employer Branding

The main goals of employer branding are to attract talent, retain employees, and create a positive corporate culture. Strong employer branding helps companies stand out in the competition for top talent and ensures long-term success. Open innovation can be a crucial tool for employer branding as it positions the company as innovative and forward-thinking, helps to get in contact with exciting talents on eye-level and build a sustainable talent funnel to hire the best candidates.

The Synergy Between Open Innovation and Employer Branding

In the quest to attract and retain top talents, companies are increasingly turning to innovative strategies that set them apart from the competition. One such strategy is the integration of open innovation into employer branding efforts. Open innovation fosters a culture of creativity and collaboration, enhancing your company’s appeal to prospective employees. In the following sections, we delve into how open innovation can transform your employer branding and position your company as an employer of choice in today’s competitive job market.

Innovative Positioning

Open innovation positions your company as forward-thinking and dynamic. By participating in open innovation projects, companies demonstrate their commitment to embracing new ideas and technological advancements. This innovative image not only attracts qualified applicants who are looking for a progressive and creative working environment, but also increases the overall value of your brand in the market.

Engagement and Motivation

Open innovation encourages employees to participate actively in developing new ideas and projects. This fosters their engagement and motivation, as they feel they are making an important contribution to the company's success. Additionally, open innovation promotes a culture of continuous learning by exposing employees to new ideas and technologies. This not only aids in personal and professional growth but also keeps the workforce updated and adaptable to changes, enhancing the organization's agility.

Network and Reach

Collaborating with external talents, universities, and startups allows companies to expand their network and benefit from new perspectives and ideas. These collaborations show potential applicants that the company is open to collaboration and innovation, increasing its attractiveness as an employer.

Attractiveness to Top Talent

By utilizing open innovation and focusing on particular innovation areas, companies can target talents interested in specific topics and industries. This enables them to build a tailored talent pool and attract the best talents who are skilled or passionate about these fields, aligning the talent pipeline with the company’s long-term strategic goals. Participation in real-world challenges and innovation projects makes the company especially attractive to highly skilled professionals. Direct involvement in open innovation initiatives allows both the company and the candidates to assess fit, not just in terms of skills but also in cultural alignment, which is crucial for long-term engagement and retention.

How ekipa Supports Companies with Open Innovation to boost Employer Branding

ekipa leverages the power of open innovation to revolutionize employer branding strategies for companies.

Future Makers Program

The Future Makers Program by ekipa aims to connect companies with innovative talents from various universities and colleges. This program allows candidates to demonstrate their skills in relevant topics, ensuring a strong content fit with corporate needs. By focusing on specific innovation challenges, participants showcase their expertise and passion in areas directly applicable to the company's strategic goals.

ekipa facilitates direct contact opportunities between talents and companies, enabling both parties to assess cultural fit. This approach helps identify the best candidates and fosters mutual respect and collaboration, essential for a successful working relationship.

Moreover, ekipa supports companies in building sustainable talent funnels specifically interested in their topics and challenges. By maintaining a pool of pre-evaluated, high-potential candidates, companies can efficiently recruit the best talent as needed, ensuring their long-term innovation and growth objectives are met. This structured approach helps companies remain agile and competitive in today’s dynamic job market​.

Success Stories

Our numerous successful projects demonstrate the effectiveness of these approaches. By collaborating with leading companies and talents from around the world, we have advanced innovative ideas and strengthened the employer branding of our partners.

  • Merck Challenge "Future of AI": This challenge focused on AI inspired by the functioning of the human brain. Participants worked on unsupervised learning algorithms that can recognize invariant representations. Two of the winning team members have been hired and started to work fulltime for Merck after the completion of the challenge​.
  • BMW Group Challenge "Joyful Diversity of AI": This challenge aimed to promote diversity and inclusion through AI solutions. Participants developed approaches on how AI can support diversity, equality, and inclusive communication. External innovators as well as BMW employees from Europe and the USA participated and collaborated with BMW Group​.
  • Westenergie Challenge: The Westenergie Challenge promoted innovative ideas for sustainability in the energy sector. Participants could gain career opportunities at Westenergie by developing creative solutions for sustainable corporate culture, infrastructure use, and transparent reporting.


Open innovation offers a unique opportunity to enhance employer branding and position the company as an innovative and forward-thinking employer. By involving employees and external talents in the innovation process, companies can increase their attractiveness while developing valuable new ideas.

ekipa offers a structured framework for companies to enhance their employer branding by engaging with innovation ecosystems, ensuring they attract top talent and remain at the forefront of transformative developments.

Discover how ekipa can revolutionize your employer branding strategy and connect you with top talent through the Future Makers Program. Visit ekipa’s Future Makers Program to learn more or get in contact with our program specialists, Justin Gemeri, and start your journey towards a future shaped by innovative and collaborative employer branding.


Justin Gemeri, Co-Founder & Business Development Manager
+49 151 525 924 17

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