What are the results and prospects after 20 years of Open Innovation in companies?

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Open Innovation is celebrating its 20th anniversary: how is it being deployed within companies?

Open Innovation celebrates its 20th anniversary

What are the barriers to adopting Open Innovation?

Despite its growing adoption, Open Innovation still faces certain reticence. Over the years, we have encountered three main ones:

  • Confidentiality and intellectual property concerns is one of the main concerns of companies reluctant to open up their innovation process. Yet it is possible to manage intellectual property well, provided that sensitive information is revealed at the right time and with the right precautions. It's no more difficult to manage intellectual property in an open innovation approach than in a traditional innovation process..
  • Expectations too high during the experimentation phase can also lead to disillusionment and call into question the relevance of this practice. Clearly, open innovation is no miracle worker, and the problems humanity has always struggled with will not be solved miraculously. During the experimental phases of the method within companies, it's important to carefully select a few use cases where spectacular progress can be made, in order to convince skeptics and calibrate expectations..
  • Finally, when external solutions are identified, it is necessary to take care to properly manage the project to implement these solutions. They often require additional developments or adaptations for which a proper project management must be put in place, with managers, budgets, deadlines and so on. Failure to take this execution phase seriously can discredit the approach on the grounds that no results have been achieved.

These obstacles must be taken into account proactively managed to ensure the success of Open Innovation.

Are you facing these issues that are holding back your Open Innovation approach? Are you looking for solutions to make your projects sustainable?

What does the future hold for Open Innovation?

Despite the challenges encountered, the future outlook for Open Innovation is promising. Open Innovation will spread to smaller and smaller companies, including start-ups, which will be able to easier access to external resources to foster growth.

But beyond this natural expansion of the market, we'd also like to mention four tracks that will make a major contribution to its development.

Collaborative tools  

They continue to evolve and become ever more effective, helping to optimize contributions, improve interactions between stakeholders, stimulate creativity and improve challenge results.

Avenues for improvement include the following:

  • Integration of emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, which can improve the quality of interactions, facilitate the search for innovative solutions and optimize project management.
  • Features to encourage creativityThese include virtual workspaces, interactive whiteboards, online brainstorming tools and gamification mechanisms to stimulate innovation.
  • Advanced data analysis tools enabling users to better understand trends, patterns and insights from collaboration, which can lead to more informed decisions and more effective innovation.
  • Interoperability Collaborative tools must be compatible with other systems and tools used by the various stakeholders, facilitating information exchange and collaboration.

Generative artificial intelligence

Its use opens up new opportunities to benefit from the contribution of machines to the innovation process.

Generative AIs have already been successfully tested to help challenge contributors write better contributions. For example:

  • They allow you toincrease the number of contributors and of save time by improving the clarity of our proposals.
  • They have also been shown to improving quality of ideas submitted, mechanically increasing the success rate of challenge responses.
  • They are able to translate and of understand content in different languages, which facilitates international collaboration and access to global knowledge.
  • They can be tested for evaluate and classify ideas generated

And we're probably not at the end of our exploration of possible uses...

Open access and open data

Their exploitation will also provide a source of information invaluable in developing accessible and stimulating innovation.

The Open Access (OA) movement aims to make scientific and academic research freely available online, without financial barriers or access restrictions. It has gained momentum thanks to the advent of the Internet, which has made it possible to disseminate academic documents rapidly and inexpensively.

Since the Budapest Declaration (2002), theOpen Access has gained in visibility:

  • Many academic institutions and universities have created their own institutional deposits to store and share locally-produced research (MIT with DSpace@MIT, Cambridge University with Apollo, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, etc.).
  • Numerous free-access magazines have emerged to publish scientific articles without requiring payment for access (PLOS, eLife, PeerJ, etc.).
  • A number of research funding agencies and governments have adopted policies requiring researchers to report their findings to the public. open access publicationsThis has encouraged the growth of the movement (ERC in Europe, National Institutes of Health in the USA, Wellcome Trust in the UK, etc.).


Its use protects exchanges and encourages creativity. This technology represents a promising field of exploration for Open Innovation.

In particular, we can cite the contributions that Blockchain could make to the following aspects:

  • Protection of intellectual property (IP) rights : Blockchain can be used to register and protect IP rights. For example, smart contracts can be used to automatically manage copyrights, patents, trademarks and other intellectual assets. This facilitates collaboration between different parties while ensuring that IP rights are respected.
  • Traceability and transparency Blockchain offers complete traceability of transactions. In the context of Open Innovation, this can be useful for tracking the origin of ideas, collaborations and results. It helps maintain a transparent history of each stakeholder's contributions.
  • Encouraging collaboration : Smart contracts on blockchain can also be used to automate rewards and incentives for contributors. For example, successful collaboration can automatically trigger royalty payments to participants.
  • Facilitating micropayments : Blockchain could enable easier payments, including micropayments, which may be relevant to remunerating contributors according to their input.

Let's hope that in the decade to come, many innovative projects will be able to move forward more efficiently, more collaboratively and more inclusively - in a word, more openly....

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