In today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, innovation has become critical to every industry. Stagnation in innovation can render companies obsolete. In-house R&D divisions face challenges, such as limited perspectives, resource constraints and talent retention and therefore, corporations are turning to open innovation.
Open innovation allows companies to access new ideas and talent that they may not find on their own. In a rapidly changing world, where new technologies and business models emerge constantly, this access is crucial. External partners can provide expertise and help validate ideas, develop prototypes and test products, reducing the time it takes to bring new offerings to market. Open innovation enables companies to capitalise on collaborative opportunities, foster adaptability and competitiveness and ensure sustainable growth in dynamic markets.
Startups are often preferred in open innovation models due to their innovative nature. Unlike established companies, startups are not constrained by legacy systems and processes that can stifle innovation. They are more willing to take risks and experiment with new ideas, making them valuable collaborators in open innovation initiatives.
Unlocking Enhanced Decision-making for Corporates
Open innovation provides companies with access to a wider range of perspectives, improving their decision-making processes. Feedback from external partners on ideas helps companies make better-informed decisions about which ideas to pursue and prioritise.
Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest automobile manufacturer, adopted open innovation through its corporate accelerator program called Maruti Suzuki MAIL (Mobility and Automobile Innovation Lab). MAIL supports startups in various areas, such as AI, autonomous mobility, big data analysis and more. The program has enabled the corporation to develop innovative solutions, providing access to new markets for both startups and the corporation. For instance, Maruti Suzuki invested in Sociograph’s Visual AI platform, Dave.AI, to enhance its digital sales experience.
Open innovation is also valuable in fields like healthcare, where it helps accelerate breakthroughs, gain access to new ideas and expertise, improve efficiency, reduce costs and co-create with patients. Companies like AstraZeneca use open innovation platforms, such as the Open Innovation Portal and the Startup Engagement Platform. These platforms connect AstraZeneca with external partners, facilitating collaboration on projects aligned with their interests.Corporates employ various models of open innovation to discover new ideas and tech solutions. Apple, for example, fosters open innovation through partnerships, investments and its dedicated developer platform, the Apple Developer Program.
LEGO, a leading toy manufacturing company, faced a crisis in the early 2000s. By embracing open innovation, LEGO engaged with fans and social media platforms, using crowdsourcing to evaluate and implement new ideas. The approach expanded their organisational learning, leading to groundbreaking innovations.
Leveraging Academia for Open Innovation
Educational institutions play a vital role in the open innovation model by providing access to talented students and researchers. They can also provide corporates with access to cutting-edge research and help them to build their brand and reputation. This can be done through collaboration or even working with open-source communities to find solutions.
For example, General Assembly, a for-profit education organisation, adopts open innovation by curating curricula and course content based on feedback from students, alumni and hiring companies. Similarly, Moodle, an open-source platform trusted by institutions like Shell and Microsoft, relies on practitioner and user communities for innovative development.
Embracing open innovation helps companies increase their brand awareness and collaborate with external partners. The collaboration enables companies to reach new customers, build relationships with key stakeholders and unlock their creative potential.
Driving Corporate Growth
Open innovation is an essential driver of corporate growth and innovation, enabling businesses to harness the collective knowledge and expertise of external partners. By leveraging open innovation ecosystems like T-Hub, startups and corporates can forge collaborative relationships, thereby expediting their research and development processes and expediting the introduction of novel products and services to the market.
Startup ecosystems not only provide valuable programs such as Corporate Innovation and Startup-Corporate Acceleration but also serve as catalysts for collaboration, product/service development, and business scaling. Complemented by a wealth of resources including mentors, investors, and government initiatives, these ecosystems empower startups and corporates to embark on their innovation journeys with confidence and purpose.
For instance, T-Hub partnered with Suzuki Innovation Centre (SIC), an open innovation platform of Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), to promote open innovation between India and Japan. The partnership is expected to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship in both India and Japan.
It is also expected to help create new opportunities for businesses from both countries. Earlier in July, the second edition of the annual T-Innovation Summit held in Hyderabad, Telangana, helped bring together global networks and communities to support entrepreneurship and innovation. The summit held panel discussions on the future and impact of open innovation, along with making the model more inclusive.
Open innovation is not just a strategy but a mindset that promotes collaboration and propels organisations to the forefront of their industry. By leveraging external input from ecosystem enablers, corporates can gain diverse perspectives and can unlock their creative potential, drive innovation and position themselves as industry leaders. Adopting open innovation, therefore, is critical for corporates in their quest for growth.