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Open Innovation of Today and Tomorrow

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Within the last two decades the approach of Open Innovation has been adopted by many multinational organizations - a challenge driven innovation process where the definition of a problem or challenge is the main trigger of an (often) global innovation sourcing process. This process is relevant, especially for organizations where internal R&D resources are not available or sufficient, intellectual property is not held within the organization, and a high probability that other solutions providers may have a head start in technological readiness. There are often success stories about commercial contracts, mergers and acquisitions between organizations and solution providers where an initially conducted open innovation program was the starting point of a fruitful collaboration.

Over the years of having dialogues with innovation managers around the globe, we identified repetitive patterns of reasons why open innovation programs do not always lead to valuable collaboration. Some Examples:

● Deceptive charm of the initial idea: Solutions which look good on the pitch deck but are not capable of delivering on the technical promises or prototypes which are in a state where there is little trust that a full technical value proposition could one day be delivered.

● Unavailability of own resources: Innovation managers that do not have access to internal resources that could take over on technical due diligence, use case matching, and initial commercial validation

● Commercial viability of the solution: Risk that the solution does not have a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace.

● Challenges in managing and coordinating relationships with partners: Collaborations where there is little to no cultural fit (language, informal institutions) or organizational proximity (work habit, project management).

These are just a few reasons why open innovation processes sometimes fail to deliver, but in the end, it always comes down to the fact that organizations face risks and uncertainties which - if not taken taken into consideration - will always determine the ultimate economic value of any open innovation approach.

Foundry International has established a framework which allows innovation managers to de-risk their open innovation process while sourcing globally, and being connected with pre-filtered, pre-vetted innovative solutions that meet their use cases

1. Challenge Definition

Together with industrial engineering experts and regional industry partners, Foundry conducts situational analyses in defining challenges for open calls.

2. Exposure & Global Sourcing

Foundry creates a holistic marketing strategy, briefs a global partner network, and conducts a global sourcing campaign for relevant technologies and solutions potentially capable of solving the respective challenges.

How we ensure Exposure:

  • Individual web-presence for the Open Innovation initiative

  • Tailor made B2B social media campaigns

  • PR campaigns

  • Proactive outreach for promising solution providers

How we do Sourcing:

  • Sourcing via channel partners e.g.

    • Governmental SME agencies

    • VC’s

    • Incubators and accelerators

    • Research organisations

  • Sourcing of relevant IP-Owners via platforms and databases

  • Hosting of promotion webinars for interested IP owners

3. Innovation Matching

After the scouting/sourcing period, Foundry uses a panel of experts selected for due diligence to conduct technical reviews with KPIs and the commercial validation of program partners. This includes the evaluation of potential trial opportunities and real-world application.

How we do Innovation Matching:

  • Review of RFI documents

  • Establishment and coordination of an Evaluation Jury (Technical Experts)

  • Scoring (relevance, technical readiness level, execution, use case suitability)

  • First interviews for light-touch due diligence

  • Application pitches and in-depth interviews

  • Continuous communication with applicants

  • Creation of evaluation reports

4. Innovation Validation

As a means to gather more empirical proof about the viability of the technology, actual or simulated contextual implementation is an important component for de-risking the innovation process. For this, Foundry plans and coordinates custom trials to validate the potential of the innovation according to metrics set by the stakeholders. Trials can be conducted in various environments:

  • Internal trials: Within the context or internal organization of the challenge owners

  • External trials in testbed infrastructures: Planning and conducting of trials with third party providers to test solutions of interest

  • Real-world validation: Trialing and simulating solutions according to challenge owner requirements in extant (real-world) applications

In parallel, Foundry conducts market landscaping to determine the greater commercial potential and barriers as we build a case for investment and deployment.

How we do Innovation Validation:

  • Use case design and program roadmaps to determine the exact purpose and goals to achieve (in alignment with industry partners and solution provider)

  • Unlocking trial funding: Working with funding partners to agree on timelines, deliverables and expected outcomes in order to sign off on and release trial funding

  • Testing and trialing in various environments

  • Impact measurement: KPIs, cost savings, and other relevant metrics relevant to the participating stakeholders

  • Showcasing of trials and solutions

5. Acceleration: Funding & Deployment

Promising solutions - especially with lower TRLs - face the burden of needing to obtain significant funding to scale or implement in complex technical environments. For these cases successful trialing will not ultimately lead to a commercialized collaboration. Foundry leverages trial success to connect projects and/or SMEs to the requied resources.

How we accelerate viable and promising innovations:

  • Outreach to secure funding partners

    1. Governmental actors (Supporting trialing / Proof of concept)

    2. Regional industry partners

    3. Investors

  • Support on technical implementation and program integration

    1. Analysis of regional implementation

    2. Coordination of deployment with industry partners and solution providers

    3. Integration to the regional infrastructure

    4. Recruitment of localized service providers to implement within existing infrastructures

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