Definition and Practice of Collaborative Innovation

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Definition and Practice of Collaborative Innovation

Definition of Collaborative Innovation

Collaborative Innovation Definition – Innovation is a central activity in the economy. It is the basis for the ability of a company, and of the entire economy, to develop, become more competitive and conquer new markets. As Yuman points out in a study on collaborative innovation, 80% of the flagship products in 10 years’ time do not yet exist. This shows the strategic importance of innovation!

Avoiding budgetary constraints

But not all companies have the means to invest huge amounts of money in R&D activities. Collaborative innovation – also known as open or participatory innovation – is an alternative to circumvent budgetary constraints through the economies of scale it makes possible. This is why it is becoming increasingly popular with SMEs.

Common projects

Collaborative innovation has other virtues: it makes it possible to develop creative synergies between the various stakeholders and to realize the potentialities of collective intelligence. Based on the principle that we are stronger as a group and made possible by the development of new information and communication technologies, collaborative innovation takes the form of the development of joint projects. Projects that can link a company with its supplier, customers, research laboratories and even competitors sometimes.

Definition of Internal and External Collaborative Innovation

Collaborative innovation can be internal or external. Internal when it connects different departments of the same entity. External when it connects a company with external partners. In all cases, it makes it possible to make innovation activities more efficient, to pool costs and to reduce risks.

Examples of Collaborative Innovation

In B2B

More and more companies, large or small, are deciding to develop collaborative innovation. This is the case, for example, of the aeronautics company Safran, which, through its innovation department, collaborates with its suppliers to optimize the technology of its products. Or Solvay, which has entered into partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to develop new chemicals.

By the crowd

Others, such as NASA or Coca Cola, have used what is known as “crowd innovation” to improve their services or products. Crowd innovation can take the form of talent competitions, surveys, calls to Internet users. This form of collaborative innovation has the great merit of saving time and involving consumers in developing the products that the market really expects.

By employees

Collaborative innovation can also be a way of involving a company’s employees internally in innovation processes. For example, the Poult biscuit factory, which employs more than 700 people, has set up an incubator allowing all its employees, managers or workers, to give their opinions on innovation. They only have to communicate their ideas on the collaborative portal, which are then discussed and enriched live.

SNCF also frequently uses collaborative innovation internally through survey campaigns. SNCF employees, in this specific case, are asked to answer questions such as “Wifi in the station: what services can be provided? “or even “Comfort on board the TGV: what improvements can be made? ». As we can see, collaborative innovation can take very different forms depending on the partners involved.

What about Intellectual Property?

Finally, it should be noted that one of the barriers to the development of collaborative innovation lies in the possible contradictions that may emerge between its principle and that of intellectual property. In an innovation partnership between company A and company B, the question may arise of who gets the benefits of innovation and who will own the potential patent. To avoid the perverse effects inherent in intellectual property rules, some are already calling for their reform. Many solutions exist to this apparent contradiction as we have discussed in another article: Open Business Innovation: Incompatible with Intellectual Property?

The new features of Collaborative Innovation

In addition, new roles are emerging in open innovation, notably the Broker in Innovation. If you are interested in the subject, we recommend that you read this article: The role of Open Innovation intermediaries

Collaborative innovation undoubtedly has a future. Bernard Stiegler is convinced of this when he says: “We are entering the era of contributory work”.

Another article entitled “Is Open Innovation really collaborative?” gives an overview of the collaboration between these different Brokers. Check it out here:

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