Innovation Keys

Open innovation” (“open innovation,” in English) refers to the change that, in the face of the business closure of previous decades, companies and governments face to take advantage of the benefits derived from the collaboration with external agents.

And although time has passed, the term is more in vogue than ever. The evolution of the Internet and the rise of new technologies have changed this panorama in the business sector, reinforcing the importance of this concept and expanding its borders.

This idea was widely supported by the round table organized by El Confidencial with Prosegur. The participants in “How to generate value in companies through open innovation” reviewed the keys to innovation in today’s companies. 

Other points highlighted by the attendees were the vital importance of incorporating innovation into the company’s culture, investing in new companies that add value to “core business,” and speaking with them from a position of equality.

According to Javier Lopez-Huerta, Director of Expansion and Tech Ventures at Prosegur, access to technology that is “increasingly simpler and cheaper” has opened the doors to innovation. And we’re not just talking about an exclusive area for big-budget companies, but that today any talented entrepreneur can already set up a new idea.

This democratization has prompted companies such as Telefonica, which launched Wayra in 2011, to invest 1.3 million euros in its last year in this innovative brand. Under this seal are, for example, two small companies whose work is linked to the company’s business objectives: one dedicated to protecting audiovisual content and another responsible for monitoring network nodes to prevent possible incidents.

Another of the issues addressed during the round table is the eternal question regarding this type of matter: is a complete strategy necessary, or is a specific program enough? For the experts, the answer is clear: beyond having a department dedicated to innovation, companies must allow this concept and this “know-how” to be installed in all areas of the business. 

And not only among workers, but open innovation must also spread among the offices where decisions are made. Those who hold power must be aware of the advantages of innovation.

Also Read: Personnel Management For Business

For Paris de l’Etraz, professor and general director of the Venture Lab at IE University, “the difference between having a company strategy or an innovation program is that the program is nothing more than checking a box.” 

The case of Amazon is one of the most paradigmatic since it does not have a specific program, but innovation is a key factor in its corporate strategy.

Another aspect that has changed since Chesbrough proposed his concept is the consumer perception of open innovation. In addition, they warn that these changes are not over yet. The irruption of the “millennials” in a market hitherto taken over by “baby boomers” opens a new panorama: two different consumers who relate to each other differently. 

They affirm that, although it has not yet happened, we will soon have a relationship with our bank, for example. Now companies create relationships with their customers: the user experience is almost more important than the product itself.

After so many years of experimentation with open innovation, experts agree that innovation has matured greatly. Now, companies invest almost exclusively in other companies that are going to collaborate with them or that, at least, are in a position to do so. 

“An investment is not a purchase, but there must be a real option for collaboration between the two firms,” ​​said Diego Díaz Pilas, head of Iberdrola’s Start-Ups Program. As Manuel Silva, a partner at Santander InnoVentures, points out, “these innovation strategies are usually divided into two pillars: “delivery” and “discovery,” in which we cultivate the way we see life and look for the long term. As investors, it helps us see where the world is going.”

This demonstrates, with the conclusions of this round table of experts, something that recently created companies had been advocating for a long time: open innovation benefits them and all the participants in its dynamics.

Also Read: Trends that Will Drive Business Innovation


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