My colleague Nigel Spencer reports on an exciting new project at the British Library:
Working with others to make new ideas fly is the strap-line for a European Union funded project to promote open innovation principles across the North West Europe region. The British Library is a partner in this three year project along with partners from France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and other parts of the UK.
The concept of open innovation is simply that by being open to external input you are more likely to develop innovative and successful products or services. This is because it is unlikely that any single organisation will have all the skills, knowledge, experience and perspectives needed in-house. Open innovation covers a range of types of activity including crowd-sourcing, co-creation and includes activities with varying levels of openness and transparency.
Stefan Lindegaard from 15inno says that people should view open innovation as ‘a philosophy or a mindset that they should embrace within their organization. This mindset should enable their organization to work with external input to the innovation process just as naturally as it does with internal input’.
There are a number of perceived and genuine barriers and challenges which prevent businesses of all sizes from taking the leap to applying open innovation principles; Some of these challenges are:
- How to make the contacts needed with external organisations and people and develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships. This a particular concern if businesses are of differing sizes.
- How to overcome the internal organisational cultures which may be uncomfortable with the kind of openness, transparency and perceived loss of direct control which are involved in applying these ideas.
- How to protect ideas and creative outputs when these are being shared and an uncertainty as to how intellectual property fits into an open innovation environment.
On 29 November the British Library is hosting a half-day conference which looks at these challenges head on. It is called ‘Open Innovation: The Challenges & Solutions’. We have brought together a great selection of experts and practitioners from organisations like 100% Open, Creative Barcode, Procter and Gamble and Quantum Innovation Centre to debate these issues.