Twelve principles for open innovation 2.0

Martin Curley in Nature: “A new mode of innovation is emerging that blurs the lines between universities, industry, governments and communities. It exploits disruptive technologies — such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things and big data — to solve societal challenges sustainably and profitably, and more quickly and ably than before. It is called open innovation 2.0 (ref. 1).

Such innovations are being tested in ‘living labs’ in hundreds of cities. In Dublin, for example, the city council has partnered with my company, the technology firm Intel (of which I am a vice-president), to install a pilot network of sensors to improve flood management by measuring local rain fall and river levels, and detecting blocked drains. Eindhoven in the Netherlands is working with electronics firm Philips and others to develop intelligent street lighting. Communications-technology firm Ericsson, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, IBM and others are collaborating to test self-driving buses in Kista, Sweden.

Yet many institutions and companies remain unaware of this radical shift. They often confuse invention and innovation. Invention is the creation of a technology or method. Innovation concerns the use of that technology or method to create value. The agile approaches needed for open innovation 2.0 conflict with the ‘command and control’ organizations of the industrial age (see ‘How innovation modes have evolved’). Institutional or societal cultures can inhibit user and citizen involvement. Intellectual-property (IP) models may inhibit collaboration. Government funders can stifle the emergence of ideas by requiring that detailed descriptions of proposed work are specified before research can begin. Measures of success, such as citations, discount innovation and impact. Policymaking lags behind the market place….

Keys to collaborative innovation

  1. Purpose. Efforts and intellects aligned through commitment rather than compliance deliver an impact greater than the sum of their parts. A great example is former US President John F. Kennedy’s vision of putting a man on the Moon. Articulating a shared value that can be created is important. A win–win scenario is more sustainable than a win–lose outcome.
  2. Partner. The ‘quadruple helix’ of government, industry, academia and citizens joining forces aligns goals, amplifies resources, attenuates risk and accelerates progress. A collaboration between Intel, University College London, Imperial College London and Innovate UK’s Future Cities Catapult is working in the Intel Collaborative Research Institute to improve people’s well-being in cities, for example to enable reduction of air pollution.
  3. Platform. An environment for collaboration is a basic requirement. Platforms should be integrated and modular, allowing a plug-and-play approach. They must be open to ensure low barriers to use, catalysing the evolution of a community. Challenges in security, standards, trust and privacy need to be addressed. For example, the Open Connectivity Foundation is securing interoperability for the Internet of Things.
  4. Possibilities. Returns may not come from a product but from the business model that enabled it, a better process or a new user experience. Strategic tools are available, such as industrial designer Larry Keeley’s breakdown of innovations into ten types in four categories: finance, process, offerings and delivery.
  5. Plan. Adoption and scale should be the focus of innovation efforts, not product creation. Around 20% of value is created when an innovation is established; more than 80% comes when it is widely adopted7. Focus on the ‘four Us’: utility (value to the user); usability; user experience; and ubiquity (designing in network effects).
  6. Pyramid. Enable users to drive innovation. They inspired two-thirds of innovations in semiconductors and printed circuit boards, for example. Lego Ideas encourages children and others to submit product proposals — submitters must get 10,000 supporters for their idea to be reviewed. Successful inventors get 1% of royalties.
  7. Problem. Most innovations come from a stated need. Ethnographic research with users, customers or the environment can identify problems and support brainstorming of solutions. Create a road map to ensure the shortest path to a solution.
  8. Prototype. Solutions need to be tested and improved through rapid experimentation with users and citizens. Prototyping shows how applicable a solution is, reduces the risks of failures and can reveal pain points. ‘Hackathons’, where developers come together to rapidly try things, are increasingly common.
  9. Pilot. Projects need to be implemented in the real world on small scales first. The Intel Collaborative Research Institute runs research projects in London’s parks, neighbourhoods and schools. Barcelona’s Laboratori — which involves the quadruple helix — is pioneering open ‘living lab’ methods in the city to boost culture, knowledge, creativity and innovation.
  10. Product. Prototypes need to be converted into viable commercial products or services through scaling up and new infrastructure globally. Cloud computing allows even small start-ups to scale with volume, velocity and resilience.
  11. Product service systems. Organizations need to move from just delivering products to also delivering related services that improve sustainability as well as profitability. Rolls-Royce sells ‘power by the hour’ — hours of flight time rather than jet engines — enabled by advanced telemetry. The ultimate goal of open innovation 2.0 is a circular or performance economy, focused on services and reuse rather than consumption and waste.
  12. Process. Innovation is a team sport. Organizations, ecosystems and communities should measure, manage and improve their innovation processes to deliver results that are predictable, probable and profitable. Agile methods supported by automation shorten the time from idea to implementation….(More)”