Open Innovation and Intellectual Property

Open Innovation and Intellectual Property

John Wilbanks on yesterday’s NESTA event. Gotta say, I left I was BUZZING. John’s talk was real shot in the arm, he describes collaborative markets in biotech where heterogeneous networks are built to buy and sell assets not available from any one supplier. Exciting stuff:-)

Open innovation is a phrase in danger of being misused. It's a catch-all sometimes for "we don't know why our systems aren't working and what we need to do" - you can just say "we need open innovation" and hide behind it. But this meeting gave me hope that the systematic efforts needed to enable Chesbrough's vision of open innovation may be possible. If we're going to achieve that particular vision of innovation, it's important to remember its tenets. Knowledge must move - "purposively" - in and out of organizations. There must be investment in the external capacity of the market itself to generate useful knowledge. And we need business models that are capable of surviving in an open environment. The old theory of doing business as a hermetically sealed entity was never really true. Knowledge leaked, at conferences and in bars, in phone calls and in passing. And the pharma industry essentially practices a form of open innovation already, through its constant forming and reforming of alliances and mergers and restructuring. But it's not practicing open innovation at scale, with efficiency, or with purpose.