Open Innovation is a rapidly evolving methodology for accelerating new product development. Rather than developing innovations and new technologies secretly in a corporate laboratory, firms embracing Open Innovation actively seek new ideas from outside the firm and actively solicit ideas for their toughest challenges.

According to Wikipedia:

The central idea behind open innovation is that, in a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research, but should instead buy or license processes or inventions (i.e. patents) from other companies.

Companies who have successfully implemented Open Innovation programs include AkzoNobel, P&G and GE.

Paul Germeraad is a member of MaxVal’s Intellectual Assets, Inc. (IAI) consulting unit. Paul is a recognized leader in the R&D and Licensing community.  He has helped many companies improve their R&D programs and IP Management practices.  He has seen through personal experience and the efforts of others what works and what does not. According to Paul,

When done right, Open Innovation can create huge new business opportunities! Since finding the needle in the haystack is the critical issue, our IAI practice can help any research intensive business make Open Innovation work alongside internal exploration options

Together with Wim Vanhaverbeke, business professor at Hasselt University, Paul has written a significant white paper on “How to find, assess and value open innovation opportunities by leveraging IP databases?

Paul and Wim observe that while Open Innovation initiatives are widespread, they do not always produce the desired results.  The paper places Open Innovation in the larger context of the firm’s overall strategy and patent management process.  It then provides specific suggestions for answering these three questions:

(1) How to find the right technology and partners in the available mountain of information?

(2) How to use new patent databases and patent analysis software tools to improve the speed and quality of finding exactly the right technology and partners?

(3) How to negotiate access in an equitable and timely manner after finding desirable technology and partners?

The paper includes a detailed example based on finding membrane technologies relevant to environmental protection and clean-up.

If you are interested in accelerating product development, we invite you to review Paul’s paper.

MaxVal’s Intellectual Assets consulting group offers services specifically tailored to help companies establish successful Technology Scouting and Open Innovation initiatives.  For more information, see Technology Scouting and Open Innovation.