Friday, April 22, 2011

Open Innovation Research Forum: Fast-tracking open innovation research

The newly-formed Open Innovation Research Forum (OIRF) held its inaugural meeting in the form of a two-day ‘fast start’ research proposal development workshop. The OIRF workshop – sponsored by the UK Innovation Research Centre and Japan’s Institute for Technology, Enterprise and Competitiveness – brought together 40 representatives of multinationals, open innovation intermediaries, and academics from around the world to discuss the links between geographic location and the successful implementation of open innovation. The workshop ran over two days and took an open approach to identifying the challenges and developing collaborative research proposals for addressing these challenges.
The first day was devoted to capturing the issues that companies feel are most important when trying to implement open innovation in different locations. The workshop kicked-off with four presentations to stimulate discussion. First, attendees were able to hear a summary of a recent UK-IRC survey that as captured the current open innovation practices of 1,200 UK firms. Next, the contrasting experiences of Kodak and Philips were presented, highlighting the role of location in their open innovation strategies. Finally, the role of open innovation in attracting investment to the UK was presented, with particular emphasis being given to the ‘Tech City’ development in London. Attendees then worked in groups to filter the wide range of issues raised by these discussions and select five key questions that, if addressed, would be of direct benefit to companies implementing open innovation and those that support them.
A dinner at King’s College then provided attendees with a chance to network and reflect on the day’s discussions.
The second day was structured around identifying ways in which the key questions identified by the companies on the first day could be addressed. This was done through a process of academics presenting a short, PowerPoint-free summary of their work and preferred research methods, and then matching these with the questions identified by the companies. Groups then spent the afternoon working on developing outline proposals for projects to address these questions. By the end of day, six outline proposals, each involving a minimum of two academic institutions, were developed and presented back to all attendees. The six proposals were:
1. Comparing open innovation best practices in developed countries versus emerging markets
2. Identifying factors influencing successful open innovation implementation
3. Open innovation for corporate growth and renewal
4. Effective intra- and inter-organisation collaborations
5. Developing leadership capabilities for open innovation
6. The role of open innovation in stimulating cluster development
Each of these proposals will now be taken forward and resources sought to run these collaborative projects. In addition, an edited book summarising current knowledge in the area of location and open innovation is being explored, and planning for the next OIRF meeting is already underway.
For further information on this workshop, the projects listed above, or any other matter relating to OIRF, please contact The OIRF is coordinated by Cambridge University Engineering Department’s Institute for Manufacturing. Further information on the activities of OIRF will soon be published via