July 19, 2008

Open innovation and "The New Face of R&D'

Computerworld magazine recently published an article entitled “The new face of R&D: What's cooking at IBM, HP and Microsoft,” in which open innovation plays a prominent role.

The article extensively quotes Henry Chesbrough and applies his ideas to explain what these three companies are doing with their $17 billion in annual R&D. One excerpt:
In fact, HP, IBM and Microsoft are all currently showing a strong move toward a favorite research concept of Chesbrough, "open innovation." As Chesbrough spells out in his book of the same title, open innovation calls for good ideas to come from both inside and outside the company. In turn, companies take the fruits of those ideas to market through internal as well as external paths.
Of course, IBM was the major focus of the original 2003 Chesbrough book. Earlier this year, HP announced a push towards open innovation in its famed HP Labs. Meanwhile, Microsoft is pursuing a fairly standard (but well executed) university relations strategy.

The article concludes with more quotes by Chesbrough, in which he notes that firms risk disclosing too much information, but in general firm err too much in the opposite direction — not opening up enough. His recommendation? “[Y]ou can be more open without giving everything away.”


Anonymous said...

Open Innovations is something I am really looking at whether it works or not. Cause I am not sure how far innovations can be from external sources. Probably the implementation of innovations can be aided more effectively from external sources. What do you think??


Unknown said...

Open Innovation is certainly a critical component in modern business, however, I have found that many otherwise sophisticated innovation professionals are not aware of the legal pitfalls of going outside of their companies for new product ideas. As one significant example, did you know that a collaborator from outside your company will automatically own equal rights to any patent resulting from the Open Innovation project unless there is an agreement to the contrary? These rights could be sold to the highest bidder, including your competitors. There are other potential legal problems that can arise, also. Before you embark on an Open Innovation platform, you must engage an experienced IP professional to make sure that your patent and other legal rights are not compromised by such external collaboration.

Joel West said...


I'm sure that the big firms seeking outside technologies have lots of lawyers who worry about these issues.

As for the little companies that are providing technologies, they also need to be careful esp. when dealing with big companies - but that is an issue that existed long before Open Innovation.