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Beyond high tech: early adopters of open innovation in other industries

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Companies have historically invested in large research and development departments to drive innovation and provide sustainable growth. This model, however, is eroding due to a number of factors. What is emerging is a more open model, where companies recognize that not all good ideas will come from inside the organization and not all good ideas created within the organization can be successfully marketed internally. To date, Open Innovation concepts have been regarded as relevant primarily to ‘high-technology’ industries, with examples that include Lucent, 3Com, IBM, Intel and Millenium Pharmaceuticals. In this article, we identify organizations in industries outside ‘high technology’ that are early adopters of the concept. Our findings demonstrate that many Open Innovation concepts are already in use in a wide range of industries. We document practices that appear to assist organizations adopting these concepts, and discover that Open Innovation is not ipso facto a recipe for outsourcing R&D. We conclude that Open Innovation has utility as a paradigm for industrial innovation beyond high tech to more traditional and mature industries.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Center for Open Innovation, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, CA, USA 2: Analysis Group, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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