The term “Open innovation” is attributed to Henry Chesbrough, faculty director of the Center for Open Innovation by the University of California, Berkeley, in his book published in 2003: "Open Innovation – The new imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology”. It can be summarized in the following quote: Open innovation assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market (…) Valuable ideas can come from inside or outside the company and can go to market from inside or outside the company as well.
Open Innovation is a new management paradigm that sees innovation as an open system where internal and external actors participate in the process of innovating and improving the competitive opportunities of the organization. It is not so much a technological challenge as a significant change in the organization’s attitude and process.
Openness, collaboration and creativity search are key to open innovation. Ideas can be developed on the inside of a company, but also in a collaborative way by different organizations, or they can be imported from an external organization, managing potential conflicts. Organization’s innovations and technologies can be bought, sold, licensed, borrowed and reinvented before coming onto the market and from its audience. This can be done through spin-offs or patent licensing, among other ways.
Therefore, it is a huge shift in the prevailing paradigm of the organization that allows it to be faster and more competitive than the competition and to add the greatest possible value. According to several studies, organizations committed to open innovation work with a much wider partner network and move up and down the value chain.
There are numerous tools, practices and guides available to introduce open innovation in your organization. There is extensive updated literature available online.