What Exactly Do We Mean by Open Innovation?

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There are many different, yet still true, answers to this question and thus you need to be careful not to get stuck with just one definition. I recently enjoyed a presentation by John Stewart, director of open innovation at Tate & Lyle in which he gave this description of what open innovation means – and does not mean – in his company.

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Open innovation at Tate & Lyle means partnering with external innovators to bring products to market faster and develop innovations we cannot create alone. In short, the aim of open innovation is to deliver faster growth.

This happens by:

• Partnering with companies (large and small) to bring new products to market
• Helping to grow our innovation pipeline with externally-sourced products and technologies
• Finding new products and technologies we cannot create alone
• Potentially cutting years of development time

And what it DOESN’T MEAN

• Contract research
• Academic collaborations into basic research (our technical teams do this directly)
• Joint Ventures (other teams manage these directly)
• Spinning out technologies or companies
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You can find the full presentation here: Tate & Lyle Open Innovation

To build further on my first statements, I have often said that corporate innovation teams need to develop their own understanding of open innovation and it should be one that fits the unique situation of their company. Just like Tate & Lyle does it…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.

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