Unlocking the Power of Collaboration with Open Innovation
In today’s dynamic business environment, staying ahead of the curve and meeting ever-changing customer needs requires a shift from traditional innovation approaches. Enter open innovation – a concept that has gained significant traction as organisations recognise the transformative potential of collaboration, knowledge sharing and co-creation. The UN in its Technology and Innovation Report 2023 highlights the significance of open innovation, particularly for developing countries like India.
Open innovation involves integrating external ideas, resources and expertise into the innovation process. Unlike traditional closed models, open innovation encourages collaboration with external stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, universities, startups and even competitors. There are various methods for implementing open innovation, including crowdsourcing, strategic partnerships and creating innovative communities.
Corporations are adopting open innovation models to help their businesses accelerate innovation, reduce costs and access new markets. The Indian open innovation ecosystem has over 500 collaborative programs led by stakeholders, like academia, investors, corporates and the government, suggest reports.
Adopting open innovation for competitive advantage
Organisations can tap into an extensive range of external ideas and perspectives through collaboration, knowledge sharing and co-creation. The approach fosters creativity and efficiency and enables organisations to access new markets and expedite the introduction of new products and services.
By adopting open collaboration, organisations gain access to a vast pool of ideas and expertise that lie outside the boundaries of their internal research teams. This broader perspective not only enhances creativity but also increases the likelihood of achieving breakthrough innovations. It also helps reduce the time and costs associated with internal research and development by leveraging external knowledge and capabilities.
A positive relationship exists between open innovation and competitive advantage, suggests a 2022 scientific study titled Open Innovation and competitive advantage: A systematic review and Meta-analysis. The study highlights the importance of various moderating factors, such as the specific type of open innovation activity, industry context and the firm’s absorptive capacity. Organisations must strategically assess and manage these elements to maximise the benefits of their open innovation initiatives, suggests the study.
Maruti Suzuki’s Open Innovation Journey
The Indian automobile sector is actively seeking tech innovations that can be implemented digitally and rapidly, and they are leaning on startups for the solution. Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest automobile manufacturer, adopted open innovation through its corporate accelerator program, Maruti Suzuki MAIL (Mobility and Automobile Innovation Lab).
MAIL has created a support system that nurtures the growth of startups and addresses the industry’s demand for innovative solutions. It is in search of startups working in various areas, such as artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, big data analysis, blockchain, connected cars, digital solutions, data security, electric vehicle and infrastructure, finance, logistics, loyalty programs, rural mobility, road safety, sound analysis, shared mobility, supply chain, vehicle diagnostics, virtual reality (VR), vehicle safety and warehousing.
MAIL has supported over 50 startups, of which three startups, Automaxis, Imaginate and XaneAI were incubated at innovation hubs like T-Hub. The program enabled the corporation to develop innovative solutions for their problem statements. It provided access to new markets for both the startups and the corporation. MAIL also helps startups secure funding.
In 2022, Maruti Suzuki committed to investing approximately INR two crores in the startup Sociograph’s Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform, known as Dave.AI, to improve its digital sales experience for its customers. The corporate was able to leverage an innovative technology solution from a startup to improve its customer experience.
Boeing’s BUILD Program
Global corporations like Boeing are also engaging young entrepreneurial minds to transform innovative ideas into viable business offerings by adopting an open innovation model in India. Boeing’s University Innovation Leadership Development (BUILD) program is specifically designed for graduates and early-stage startup entrepreneurs in India.
The program provides the shortlisted startups with valuable opportunities for growth and development. Boeing has partnered with T-Hub and incubators at IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Gandhinagar, IIT Madras, IISC Bangalore, and KIIT Bhubaneshwar.
Boeing has focused on several key areas including mobility, space, connectivity, Industry 4.0 technologies, enterprise digital solutions, sustainability and data analytics/AI. By concentrating on startups working in these areas, Boeing aims to nurture innovation and drive the development of cutting-edge solutions in these sectors. Through its partnership with T-Hub, Boeing has connected over 500 startups with corporate resources, delivering successful programs.
Maruti Suzuki’s MAIL program and Boeing’s BUILD program demonstrate the power of collaboration with startups and external ecosystems, providing mentorship, guidance and resources to fuel the development of innovative solutions in the mobility, automobile and related sectors.
As organisations continue to navigate an ever-evolving business landscape, open innovation will play a pivotal role in shaping their success. Adopting open innovation is not just a strategic choice; it is a mindset shift that empowers organisations to leverage external knowledge, tap into diverse perspectives and seize the limitless opportunities that lie ahead.