What does open innovation mean?

February 9, 2022

We can consider innovation simply as "Invention x  Commercialization." As MIT Professor Bill Aulet described in his course (available in MIT OpenCourseWare), you need both an invention and commercialization of that invention if it is innovation. In other words, "innovation is something different that creates value." This "something" refers to products, technologies, services, processes, business models, and more. "Different" commonly amazes people. After all, the dictionary defines innovation as "something new." But here's the point: The iPhone, one of the most frequently cited innovations, was not a new thing. Even Steve Jobs confirmed that Apple would be releasing three products: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a mobile phone, and an internet-connected device. The iPhone was "different" because it merged all three devices into one. "Creating value" is solving the problems experienced by many people. All innovations solve problems; solving problems creates value.

When it comes to corporates, they have basically two types of choices: Open and Closed Innovation. In closed innovation, a company just relies on its internal resources. All improvements and developments come from internal teams, and the information is not shared with the public. On the other hand, open innovation refers to when an organization does not rely solely on its internal knowledge, sources, and resources (such as its staff or R&D) to drive the innovation process. The large company also relies on multiple external sources, including but not limited to customer feedback, published patents, startups, external agencies, and the youth. The scope of the innovation process consists of the innovation of products, services, business models, processes, and more. 

When you think about open innovation, you might end up with the two sides of it. The first is the "outside-in" part. External ideas and technologies are integrated into the large company's innovation process. This is the most prominent part of open innovation. The other, less well-known side is the "inside-out" part, in which un- and underutilized ideas and technologies within the organization are enabled to move outside and be incorporated into the innovation processes of others. 

At Hackquarters, we partner with corporates to move their innovation strategy forward. In our programs, corporates benefit from different sources for outside-in open innovation. For example, in our Hackzone Accelerator Program with Allianz Turkey, the participant startups got into PoC processes to improve the products, services, and internal operations of Allianz Turkey to create the value Allianz Turkey offers its customers. Hackathons are another type of event that creates value for both participant startups and corporates with the outcome of PoCs. Also, we deliver hackathons for corporates to feed them with the ideas coming from the youth. Ideas from fresh minds can show us the angles we could not see before. That's why hackathons are highly meaningful to corporates. We saw an excellent example of it in the KazandıRio Hackathon we delivered with Pepsico Turkey and KazandiRio in January 2022.

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