Open innovation allows companies to tap into a wider pool of expertise & knowledge to receive new, unpredictable ideas & breakthrough solutions than they would be able to with their internal capacities alone.

By collaborating & cocreating with external partners, companies can access competences, technologies, and markets that that otherwise might have remained inaccessible to them.  This leads to an information advantage over companies that are closed to innovations from outside. It can lead to faster, more effective and efficient innovation processes, as well as increased competitiveness in the marketplace. Forward-thinking companies are embracing open innovation for a reason – it’s effective, agile and enables organizations to bring together the smartest people in the world. Open innovation leads you into the future of a sustainable & resilient company.

DEFINITION: Open innovation is all about openness

It's a practice and a process where enterprises & organizations open up to external influences & sources, to outside information, knowledge & skills as well as to internal ones. Being open to external influences means to increase the innovative potential with the power & the target to solving problems and finding solutions or new suggestions to internal processes & challenges.

“Open innovation” is a term coined by Henry Chesbrough in his book “Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology" (2003). It refers to the practice of using both internal and external sources of expertise, technology, and resources to drive innovation and create value.


Let’s see what open innovation can do for you.

The 4 FRUITFUL C’s of open innovation:
collaboration, CO-CREATION, competencies & communication

The notion “openness” stands for limitless possibilities. It inspires us to come together in a abundant field of possibilities, to combine skills and strengths, and to bring visions to life without (too many) restrictions. It’s about the open space, where great ideas can grow in a fruitful environment.

Openness broadens productive ways to collaborate. When we collaborate trustfully, we leave boundaries behind us while enjoying the possibilities & richness of sharing, learning and solving problems together. In a collaborative process we work together with different ensembles towards one goal. We can create a whole culture of collaboration inside the organization. Great visions & breakthrough innovations can come from anywhere (outside & inside the organization); let’s be open to them and trust in the process of collaboration & co-creation to generate something new and unpredictable.

Creating an atmosphere of collaboration means maximizing the capacities & competencies of various individuals and combining them with others in one collaborative target agreement. In an open innovation process, you get (almost) limitless access to a wide pool of knowledge & expertise in any industry.

A (corporate) working environment of collaboration offers an open space and even more possibilities to communicate openly and honestly. This fosters an atmosphere of transparent communication, which in turn builds trust and binds stakeholders closer together.

Technology & DIGITAL AVANT-GARDE – drive & DRIVERS of open innovation

Especially in today's fast-paced business world, the high-speed technological development and the growing complexity of our era pose a threat to companies that are less flexible and less open to new influences. Companies must be open to new & important influences or changes and remain agile to stay competitive. Open innovation can help to foster agility to the next level and keep on providing greater access to new creative skills, technologies and other intangible assets. This comes along with an increased ability to monitor and keep pace with technological change. This change is continuous and exponential. We are experiencing a tech explosion with new technological achievements & breakthroughs, so we need to stay up to date! An open innovation ecosystem offers you not only what’s new in terms of far-reaching technologies such as AI, blockchain and machine learning, but also the techsavvy of developers & hands-on users as well as the state-of-the-art expertise of the digital avant-garde.


The increased speed in technological achievement goes hand in hand with more efficiency in operational processes which is linked to increased agility and flexibility. Efficiency, agility and better accessibility to new technologies & scientific findings brings you faster to (new) markets. Open Innovation helps to understand better (global) market trends and industry disruptions. Furthermore, and these are two sides of the same coin, the changing customer requirements that come along with it must be recognized and served. Open innovation offers many opportunities to develop and exploit new business models. In a controlled testing & prototyping setting, innovations can be piloted and developed to the next level.

You can innovate your business by creating new products and revenue streams. Whether in the form of a pilot project or a fully implemented product/service, corporations and start-ups share the burden. This way, both sides reduce costs, risks, and project timelines, while accelerating the development of disruptive solutions. The result: companies that successfully pursue open innovation reaps significant dividends and gain competitive advantages that span across their businesses.


Talking about reducing risks: by knowing what’s going on in the market and in the startup-up world as well as in science & technology, it will be easier to adapt & faster to react. There is a lean way to test open innovation and decide collaboratively to incorporate it in the long run. As uncertainty exists in an early stage of new business & products, it makes sense to reduce risks & research costs by partnering with researchers & research departments through open innovation in a lean setting and to see, if a bigger project is worthwhile e.g., by finding common funding.

Finally, it comes to an increased customer centricity, as innovations by start-ups are generally more aligned with customer needs than those of companies which are often constrained by process-driven cultures. Business collaboration with a start-up allows corporates to adapt & tailor their products or solutions more quickly with the aim of better serving their customers.


In an open innovation environment, you can recruit and retain new talents. Whether in start-ups or with individual experts, gaining access to diverse and skillful talents is the key to digital innovation. We know how long digital transformation takes in organizations. Companies spend years of learning before they can effectively take on new developments, processes or technologies. ekipa's open innovation platform, programs & process offer participating innovators – start-ups and big companies – a 360° ecosystem for initial and long-term collaboration. Building learning capacities between start-ups and big players is an achievable outcome that can be derived from such short collaborations.

Open innovation provides you with better access innovative creative minds and better, unpredictable solutions. Creativity & diversity are key for innovation! Due to our global digital network, we are connected with the world’s most diverse & smart people with the desire to bring their visions & solutions to life. Our academic & youth innovator ecosystem gives you access to the global science community and to students, start-ups, researchers, young professionals & experts from all backgrounds – creative digital nomads & satellites everywhere in the world. Connect your enterprise with these young & bright minds!


So, why open innovation? Because it is a powerful tool for companies to drive innovation, to reduce costs, and to stay competitive in a rapidly changing business environment. Open innovation allows companies to tap into a wider pool of expertise and resources than they would be able to on their own. 

By collaborating with external partners, companies can access new developments, technologies and markets that they might not have otherwise been able to reach. This can lead to faster and more cost-effective innovation, as well as increased competitiveness in the marketplace.

Do you still have doubts? Well, there can always be a good reason not to do something and - since we have learned how important transparent communication is in an open innovation environment - we need to talk about the possible reasons – the “why nots”. While open innovation has many benefits, it may not be always the right approach for every organization; some may have intellectual property concerns or a culture of collaboration isn't yet established in the company, or there is a lack of time, resources or expertise to effectively manage open innovation initiatives. These can be understandable reasons.

Open Innovation does not only mean to open up; you can rely on a proven & experienced partner like ekipa. So the good news comes with our open innovation expertise and the ekipa open innovation process: we can help to identify difficulties and find solutions by setting clear goals and expectations, building strong partnerships, and fostering a culture of innovation in established or future enterprises. Together, we can design & build your (individual) roadmap into the amazing universe of open innovation – this is where our future is happening.

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