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Open Innovation - A Handbook for Researchers

Read time: 3 mins

Do you know @HenryChesbrough? He used the term open innovation for the first time in 2003 and is now working as executive director of the programme in open innovation at the University of California. According to him, sharing ideas and technology can reduce costs and time spent in research, making unused innovations more accessible to external users. Of course it is always important to protect the intellectual property rights of the original investors in research and development (R&D), but we already live in a world of abundance of knowledge and it is not possible to stop its circulation. Consequently, would it not be more advantageous to foster this exchange of ideas and skills?

According to the report Open Innovation - A Handbook for Researchers, distributed by Innovationskontor Väst (Sweden), tools such as Open data, Creative Commons and Crowdsourcing can provide researchers with new opportunities for funding projects, increasing resources and disseminating results. In fact, many funding agencies and universities are already requiring researchers to make their reports and data available to the public for free. Many companies are also changing their model for R&D, creating new opportunities for collaboration with other stakeholders.

As reported in the document, researchers can benefit of #OpenInnovation in many ways: by getting funding for their research, by finding partners for a project, by getting access to large amounts of public and other data, by discovering and staying in touch with individuals who can contribute to their research, by acquiring useful software and computing power, by publishing their results, by distributing intellectual properties, by acquiring credit and attribution for their research, and by involving students in their research.

According to the authors of the handbook, many tools are already available to bring together people from different parts of the world and various sectors of business. Crowdsourcing allows to get help from many people as well as to use an increased computational power. Open access provides unrestricted access via internet to peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles. Crowdfunding is the collective effort of money for doing research, verification and prototyping, but it is also an excellent system to engage the communities interested in scientific activities.

A Toolkit with good instructions is a very good way to be recognized as a leading expert in the own field of study. The Easy Access Intellectual Property provides a fast transfer of knowledge and expertise from universities to industry. Publishing material and tutorials on the web using a Creative Commons license is a good method to disseminate the results of a research and get credit for it.

Ideation contests can generate a lot of interesting contributions to a technical task. In particular, Lead user innovation is a special case of crowdsourcing: occasionally, some creative customers can better adapt, modify or transform a proprietary product. Finally, many sources can be combined using freely available Open data, making it possible to research more complex relationships.

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