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The Concept of Openness

In this video, Gertraud Leimüller will introduce you to the concept of Openness.

Openness is not about simply being open and sharing everything. Openness in the context of knowledge production is a very targeted approach, including sometimes even closed episodes and aiming at very specific effects. Openness has 3 dimensions:

  1. Collaboration: working with unconventional actors allows us to access and generate new knowledge; this collaboration facilitates knowledge generation processes which are inclusive.
  2. Transparency: making processes transparent and sharing information with others, producing traceability which leads to increased legitimacy in knowledge generation processes.
  3. Accessibility: making the results of science processes accessible for outside users; an important precondition for re-use.

There is this wonderful quote from Chesbrough and Bogers (2014) which puts it in a nutshell: Open Innovation is “a distributed innovation process based on purposively managed knowledge flows across organizational boundaries.” This means that information is widely distributed but stays with certain people and is not easily transferred to other instances. However, you need outside knowledge to generate innovation! Open Innovation therefore requires a targeted, strategic opening of the innovation process: as open as possible, as closed as necessary.

Open Innovation spans across the boundaries of departments, sectors, disciplines, countries etc. This provides new knowledge and enhances the chance of generating novelty.

Three types of open innovation

  • Outside-in Open Innovation: You will learn about Adidas and their internet-based shoe design contests
  • Inside-out Open Innovation: We will tell you about a biotech start-up which licenses drugs to pharmaceutical companies
  • Coupled Open Innovation: Think about joint corporate venture builders: Several companies work together in their innovation activities and spin off their novel products and business models in new companies

In the next video we will get to the core of this module: the evolution of innovation and Open Innovation.

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Openness in Science and Innovation

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