Category Archives: OI Practice

Articles dealing with the Open Innovation practices

An example of state-of-the-art using Open Innovation

How to realize a state-of-the-art ? How can Open Innovation help ? Some simple answers below.

State-of-the-art : definition

A state of the art is the identification of previous knowledge to avoid reinventing. Making a state-of-the-art makes it possible to verify or justify that one produces new knowledge, for a thesis of doctorate or the filing of a patent, for example. The state-of-the-art often also includes the identification of actors – academic or industrial – who are at the origin of knowledge : the “ecosystem”. Better, this ecosystem can be questioned to complete and strengthen the state-of-the-art. This is where Open Innovation comes in. Especially since the algorithms of data mining and classification of Open Innovation platforms allow an acceleration of the research tasks for publications and actors which are often tedious. Let’s have a deeper look to a state-of-the-art example.

State-of-the-art example: dead leaves

For this state-of-the-art example, let’s take a real case treated by an industrial company we know: the problem of fallen leaves on train tracks in autumn. The dead leaves cause a loss of adhesion between the rails and the wheels of the trains, in particular because of the transformation of the leaves at the passage of the trains. The transformed material causes a loss of adhesion between the wheel and the rail which requires lengthening braking distances, and hence disrupts the timing of the trains.

state-of-the-art example

Start with scientific publications

The state-of-the-art will consist of multiple queries using a search engine. We recommend starting with an investigation of scientific publications (which are often richer and more explicit than patent sources). In our example, this exploration begins with a combination of keywords such as “wheel”, “rail”, “leaves”,”adhesion”, which will return publications on these topics.The interesting publications are saved.

Identify keywords & draw a mindmap

The first results of these queries will also make it possible to identify other keywords which are useful to deepen the subject : “friction”, “adhesion enhancer”, “adhesion coefficient”, and will gradually make emerge research themes that we will have to structure (we recommend using a mindmap) : ways to restore adhesion, study of the “black layer” that forms when the wheels crush the fallen leaves, cleaning techniques of leaf layers (by laser heating, by projection of substances, by air jet, etc.) As queries progress, the knowledge deepens, is structured, new publications are saved and added to the right place in the mindmap.

Find Interesting patents

In a second step, the most interesting queries are exploited with patent data sources. In addition to identifying interesting patents in the field, they help better understand the ecosystem. In our case, a very rich university ecosystem (and, to a lesser extent, industrial) has appeared in Europe (Great Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Netherlands, Italy, …), in Asia (China, South Korea, Japan) and in North America (United States, Canada).

Contacting experts: a specific approach to Open Innovation

Finally, to complete the state-of-the-art, the industrial company decided to contact a number of university groups. This step, which is optional, is also specific to an Open Innovation approach. It has the advantage of giving the possibility to talk to specialists in the field who can update the state-of-the-art with the latest and even unpublished research data. Even through a conversation lasting less than an hour, it is possible to identify the important points or to project oneself in the future, which a purely bibliographic search allows only in a very limited way. It’s like going to an annual conference and interviewing the world’s most famous experts !

Contacting experts: asking the right questions

A final remark. In any case, before contacting an expert to refine a state-of-the-art, one must ask himself “why would he/she spend time on my subject ?”. In our case on dead leaves, a large corporation was at the origin of the question and many experts are interested in a dialogue that can lead to collaboration. But other options are possible : a simple exchange of information, the possibility of setting up a joint project, remuneration, etc.

A fair / balanced relationship is one of the keys to succeed in Open Innovation projects.

state-of-the-art example
Illustration : Synthetic representation of the State-of-the-art example on the dead leaves case. Each box contains scientific publications or patents related to the subject.

To know more about using ideXlab platform to establish a state of the art, register to one of our platform demonstration.


[Guide] Which Open Innovation models to consider?

Open Innovation models – which approach to choose for implementation?

Open Innovation becomes a remedy when an answer to a technological or scientific question can not be found internally in a company, when outsourcing the answer or the solution is the best way to go. But what are the best Open Innovation models for finding this external solution?

One can think of many commonly cited practices such as using specialized consultants, setting up a technology watch or scouting team, participating in specialized conferences to meet specialists, using an Open Innovation platform (but which one ?), use his professional social network or simply use his favorite search engine … All these solutions are good, the choice of the most effective solution will depend on the context.

3 questions to take the right decision

To make the right decision, you will have to answer three questions (in this order):

  • Do we really need outside help?
  • Is our budget limited?
  • Are deadlines tight?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you can already consider using an Open Innovation platform !

Do we really need outside help?

If the answer to the first question is negative, it is because internal resources are competent and available. No reason to go elsewhere, except of course if a second opinion or an external alternative can bring value.

Is our budget limited?

If your budget is not limited (second question), the best option is probably to call on a firm of innovation consultants you trust. You will enjoy a quality service, probably fast enough. On the other hand, they protect their know-how (there will be no transfer of skills, so next time it will be necessary to solicit them again) and the cost will be high. Setting up a scouting team can be a good alternative if the volume of projects is important, but it will take time.

Are deadlines tight?

If your budget is limited but you have time (third question), crowdsourcing platforms are interesting: they can generate many options at reasonable cost, sometimes very original ones. However, they also cause internal costs that can become important when sorting and evaluating ideas. And the result is not guaranteed, it is better that your problem is not too complex. Using your social network is also interesting, but for a random result: what is the quality of your network in the topic of interest ? There remains the classic search engines: everything is probably there, but rarely what you are looking for when it comes to innovation, or without guarantee to have come across the best result. They are simply not designed for innovation issues and are likely to be … a waste of time.

Finally, if the answers to all the questions above are positive: need of help, limited budget, tight deadlines, an Open Innovation platform like the one we have developed has important advantages: it will allow a real appropriation of the competency in Open Innovation, guided by the tool. It guarantees a controlled number of results from collective intelligence. And of course it responds to imperatives of limited costs and time, and will be more effective as the number of projects increases.


In this Guide below, you will discover the list of options to consider, their pros and cons, how to choose the best Open Innovation models for your company, and a practical way forward.

open innovation models guide

[Videos] What you need to know about ideXlab’s Open Innovation platform


ideXlab: a worldwide Open Innovation platform providing multiple services


Using an Open Innovation platform can improve your technology intelligence and accelerate innovation within your company by offering access to the right experts and knowledge at any time. ideXlab provides as a multi-service platform the opportunity to leverage the scientific community. On ideXlab’s platform you can find companies, experts and acadamics researchers. You can also analyse hundreds of millions of publications and patents.

Thanks to a dedicated algorithm, the platform allows users to:

  • Search and analyse publications and patents
  • Store your researches and structure them with a simple “map mind” view
  • Find, identify and rank experts relevant to your needs within among 10 million identified individuals or companies.

ideXlab’s platform connects in a simple way technical questions and their solutions. The platform’s cross-industries approach helps define the state-of-the-art of specific scientific, technical, or marketing innovations. Discover in this short video the story of the platform:

open innovation platform video


Create, store and exchange: a unique Open Innovation platform


In this second video you will go more deeply in platform’s functionalities, simplicity and search potential. It shows a use case related to ceramic parts additive manufacturing.

This case illustrate searching for new technology to improve the manufacturing of ceramics parts by using new additive manufacturing techniques or by using substitute materials.

open innovation platform video

The Open Innovation platform’s added value comes from its capability to combine users’ needs within “four S” actions:

  • Search: find any publication, patent or expert linked to subjects your company is interested in, thanks to ideXlab’s search engine
  • Structure: the platform allow to store previous searches and help structure the acquired knowledge
  • Save: thanks to a storage space you can create your own bibliography
  • Share: last but not least, ideXlab’s Open Innovation platform allows you to share and exchange with other colleagues you findings


If you are ready to try Open Innovation and identify the best experts to solve your technical question, you can start now and open a trial account that includes 10 search credits on our website.


[Ebook] The crucial concept of co-development for Open Innovation


Many companies have evolved from a closed-innovation model to Open Innovation, and have made the most of their networks to satisfy their need for innovation. Is collective knowledge a prerequisite for Open Innovation today? Let’s discover the concept of co-development!

Co-development, from the idea of the product to its production


Co-development is inseparable with Open Innovation. This concept relies on experts and skilled workers from all horizons collaborating all together, but also on a common goal directing the collaborative development of a project. Co-development can be set up at any level of technological growth, from the conceptualisation of the product to its production or methods of distribution. But isn’t sharing for growing a utopia?

Is co-development a relevant solution for all industries?


Don’t be mistaken: collective innovation isn’t as foggy as it may seem at first. In fact, it can apply to any industrial sector in search for innovation. When knowledge passes from one industry’s hand to another’s, it can indeed be a great source of inspiration and growth to both sectors.
In this ebook, you’ll discover 6 very concrete examples of Open Innovation and co-development strategies that performed brilliantly. These innovative success stories take place in the context of various technical problematic, such as:

• Improving bread crispness
• Assessing the application of new materials to electronic enclosures
• Preparing titanium surfaces and composite parts by dry processing
• Seeking a safe and controlled exothermic reaction
• Designing a contactless braking system
• Conceiving a guiding system for autonomous vehicles

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[White Paper] Open innovation in business: incompatible with Intellectual Property?


In an economy of knowledge, it seems essential to be able to protect our industrial properties. Intellectual Property titles are the key for a company’s development and constitute a shield in case of industrial conflict. On the other hand Open Innovation seems to rely on a sharing and exchange, which threatens the company’s safety…

Intellectual Property Rights and Open Innovation in business: from exclusivity to complementarity?

Intellectual Property, and particularly the industrial one, has many advantages, including the submission of patents to protect your creations. As the Worldwide Intellectual Property Organization says, the patents enable your business to:

Establish exclusive rights allowing your company to use this innovation during 20 years, but also to concede or sell this license to a third legal entity
Take a stronger position on the market and a give a power of negotiation by reducing the competition on this market and concluding more cross-licensing agreements
Increase the reputation of your company, as it will be recognized for its ability to innovate and develop new products or services

Open Innovation in my company: it works!


Innovating in business thanks to Open Innovation is easy if you accept its notion of sharing. Nowadays, one notices an innovation freeze in new technologies due to an excessive manipulation of Intellectual Property. Indeed, the WIPO observed in 2015 a record in terms of patent submissions with 2.9 millions handing-in.

As a company, Open Innovation system raises many questions, such as :
How can I protect my business and products without Intellectual Property titles?
Is my company weakened when sharing a license or an Intellectual Property title?

Discover in this White Paper how Open Innovation platforms can answer your questions thanks to an anonymous process, avoiding risks of knowledge loss. Companies that want to launch their products more quickly on the market can’t rely on their own property of their internal resources anymore. On the contrary, they must accumulate opportunities!

download white paper