When I first presented Open Innovation to my colleagues at a Fortune 500 R&D organization in late 2009, I got booed out of the conference room. It could be that I presented a definition that was so expansive it meant all things to all people and therefore, meant nothing to anyone.
The accepted definition of Open Innovation, a term coined by Henry Chesbrough in 2003, is this one:
“Open innovation is the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively. [This paradigm] assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as they look to advance their technology.”
- Henry Chesbrough, Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm (2006)
I reproduced the definition and the infamous swiss-cheese funnel diagram. Here’s a pretty variation (thanks to a recent blog post):
- Vendors/Supply Chain Partners
- Users in current, future, different markets
- Small Businesses/entrepreneurs
- How is that different from what we are already doing with our university partnerships?
- How is it different from open source?
- Where’s the evidence for the claim that it helps get to market faster, build better outcomes, save R&D costs?
- How can external people possible understand the deep complexity of what we do?
- Won’t this compromise our IP?
- Isn’t this just an internal force reduction in disguise?
- This can be anything and everything. What does it mean for us?