Building Momentum with Open Innovation

In an increasingly connected world, companies are embracing Open Innovation as a way of solving their most pressing business problems. In our latest blog, Jillian Moffat, Head of Open Innovation at Scottish Enterprise, explains the opportunity and how your company can get involved.

If you’re an innovative Scottish company you may have already heard about Open Innovation, but you might be a bit in the dark as to how it relates to your company or how you can get involved.

Many companies recognise that they can’t always rely entirely on their own research and development to accelerate innovation. Some of the worlds leading companies are scanning the horizon looking to find and create partnerships with smaller, more agile companies to work together to create solutions for their problems. This collaboration is known as Open Innovation and its building momentum here in Scotland.

At Scottish Enterprise we are approaching the second anniversary of our four year Open Innovation Pilot Programme. We are supporting a cohort of 13 organisations, from both the private and public sector, on their journeys to implement Open Innovation into their respective organisations.

The aim of the programme, the first of its kind in Scotland, will significantly increase the demand for new innovative products and services from the SME community. We are forecasting to develop new markets, issue at least 150 new challenges for innovative solutions over the lifetime of the programme and generate additional research and development spend.

So far we’ve promoted approximately 35 challenges generating more than 500 responses, of which 50% have been Scottish SMEs.

Companies that have provided solutions are now winning contracts. They’re engaged in pilots to test solutions, and beginning collaborations with some of the cohort companies. Watch this space for future announcements!

A crucial part of the programme is meeting quarterly to learn openly from each other and share best practice.  We feature new and different methodologies around Open Innovation, and have garnered a range of insights and learning’s from industry and academic speakers.

At our last cohort meeting NASA dropped into Glasgow.  It was a cold, wet day but that didn’t dampen the excitement of hosting a special guest from the USA – the aptly named Steve Rader from the Centre of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation at NASA.

We held the event in the newly-opened Scottish Power HQ building at Charing Cross – an impressive 14-storey structure in the centre of the city. NASA has been practicing Open Innovation for six years, and Steve emphasised that this process was as much about culture change than implementing a new innovation process.  Steve’s presentation reaffirmed the benefits of Open Innovation. These included reduced time to market and a range of  innovative solutions – with some stellar case studies of the challenges that NASA have put out to a crowd, and the diverse range of solutions they’ve received in return.

Are you up for a challenge? Make sure you’re regularly reviewing our website and social media channels for some great business opportunities.

Jillian Moffat will be at Venturefest 2017 contributing at the Open Innovation workshop which is being hosted by Scottish Power Energy Networks. Register now to come along and hear from multiple perspectives and gain a greater understanding of how Open Innovation can work for your company.

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