This article proposes a few examples of companies that have chosen the path of open innovation.
Innovation is more than ever in the core of the corporate strategy, no matter what the size of the company is. The intensification of competition in a global economy requires new innovation forms and capacities. Nowadays, a company that doesn’t innovate is jeopardizing its existence.
The men and women that lead the big companies are aware of that. But if we say innovation we also say investment. And companies, especially in a time of economic downturn, don’t have the means to allocate colossal amounts to research and innovation.
This is when open innovation makes sense and becomes important.
In this article, we would like to list a certain number of examples of companies that have chosen the path of open innovation.
PSA Peugeot Citroën
In 2011, the French car manufacturer has launched a collaborative project to design the cars of the future and aimed at multiplying the company’s partnerships with scientific laboratories all around the world.
This project materialized into the creation of a network of OpenLabs. These structures are designed to allow the encounter between the group’s research centers and the external partners. They have a goal of thinking about the future of the automotive industry, particularly according to scientific advances. For example, a partnership has been established between PSA and the Institute of Movement Sciences of Marseille.
Other Open Innovation exmaples follow.
It’s well-known that Coca-Cola keeps the recipe of its famous drink secret. That is probably why the American company didn’t choose open innovation for developing its products. However, their program “Shaping a Better Future” allows internet visitors to suggest solutions to real society problems (for example unemployment or the environment). Afterwards, Coca-Cola selects the best project and offers its author $50,000 to put the project into practice. The winner is selected according to the intrinsic value of the project but also according to the number of votes it had received. To obtain the greatest number of votes possible, Coca-Cola encourages the authors of the projects to share them on social networks, especially on Facebook. This program obviously aims at improving the image of Coca-Cola. An open innovation project can also do that!
Briefly, more open innovation examples:
➔ The Audi car manufacturer has launched the Audi Production Award. It is a contest that invites the participants to think about the car of the future. The winner receives a trophy as well as 5,000 Euros.
➔Procter & Gamble has published the list of technical problems that their team wasn’t able to solve or hasn’t solved on time on its website. They make a call to all the web surfers who may have the magic solution. Every idea is welcome!
➔ GE have launched their program Ecomagination Challenge. Its goal? To collect ideas from entrepreneurs, students and any other innovative people, regarding problems connected to energy.
➔ The HP (Hewlett Packard) IT company has created open innovation laboratories for allowing worldwide researchers to work together and for initiating partnerships between the HP teams and external scientists.
➔ The Danish Lego Company has gone the longest way on the path of open innovation. And this is already happening for many years (MindStorms, Lego Ambassador, Lego Factory and lastly the Lego Cuuso…). It’s no surprise then that Lego is often nominated in open innovation studies. In every one of their operations/programs, Lego makes a point of honor by having their fans participate in the evolution of their product lines. Nothing could be more efficient in bonding the Lego community, made out of young and less young people.
➔ Local Motors is a start-up created in 2007 by a former marine, Jay Rogers. The design of a new car requires years of work and generally costs millions of Euros. To save time and money, Local Motors has decided to use crowdsourcing. Its original approach has allowed this small company to conquer important market shares. The fortunate winners of the industrial design contests could also receive royalties from the car sales.
As we can see from these examples (there are still many others to mention…) open innovation has multiple advantages and surely has a bright future ahead of it. It offers advantages in terms of efficiency and in terms of savings and as we’ve seen in the Coca-Cola example, also in terms of brand image.