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Making the transition to collaborative innovation


Themes: Innovation

Moving away from the “Not Invented Here” culture to the “Proudly Found Elsewhere” culture

Dr Chander VeluDr Chander Velu, a University Lecturer in Marketing at Cambridge Judge Business School, says firms are tapping into new eco-systems in order to collaborate more and innovate more to improve their profitability and success in the future. This requires a major shift in the mindset of firms.

Innovation has traditionally taken place within the closed walls of an organisation, with the results being diligently protected to ensure that the firm maximises the ensuing competitive advantage. But in a global world where businesses span borders and technological change happens at intense speed, these walls are coming down. Firms now recognise that innovative ideas can emerge from anywhere and that it can be very fruitful to engage others in collaborative innovation.

Dr Velu said working with another firm can sometimes be the best way to take a new idea forward but he said there were some tough questions to be asked around collaborative innovation.

“You have to ask are the technology and people ready to communicate with the outside community, and then you need to know how to build trust with your collaborative partners, and this takes time.

“Another question is around the concept of having an appropriate business model and a governance structure in order to be able to define who the community is. You should ask what are the rules regarding the profit sharing around a collaborative innovation? It can be a rather loose system but it is important for the community to define such a rule and change as it goes on, and finally it is important to have some level of monitoring to ensure all parties are conforming to these rules.”