What Is Open Innovation?

"Open Innovation means that valuable ideas can come from inside or outside the company and can go to the market from inside or outside the company as well."   –Henry Chesbrough

When Marshall McLuhan first posited his concept of the global village over forty years ago, he was expressing the belief that communication technologies were altering the way people interact on a global scale. Sure enough, in the decades since, the world has been pulled tighter, and people around the globe are receiving information simultaneously.

Of course, the catalyst for this faster, more widespread communication in recent years has been the Internet. The Web that connects individuals across cultures and time zones has opened up a whole new world of information sharing. It’s also changed the way businesses operate. No longer are companies limited to their own backyards, as the entire planet has become an open market for all types of products and services.

And the door has swung the other way too. While globalization has helped open up the world to companies’ products and services like never before, it’s also helped open up companies to a world of innovative resources that weren’t previously available. With access to so many knowledgeable groups and individuals across the globe now at our fingertips, it’s become foolish to think that all the best ideas are primarily inside company walls.

More and more, the business world is becoming one of partnerships and collaborations – linking companies across industries, researchers across fields and consumers across markets. Much as a vast majority of web content is now being created by web users, much of the business world’s product innovation is now being produced by outside sources (everyone from experts to educators to everyday customers).

This is the basic idea behind Open Innovation, a new philosophy that asserts companies need to rethink their methods for creating and ascertaining innovations in order to move into the future.

August 4, 2008
The Missing Link in Open Innovation: Where Product Managers Should Be Looking for New Ideas
Reveals an overlooked resource in open innovation.
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