Greek Companies Embrace Open Innovation

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Open Innovation, defined by Henry Chesbrough of MIT as a distributed innovation process based on purposively managed knowledge flows across organizational boundaries, can be a way for Greek companies to mitigate some of the effects of the crisis, show results from a survey conducted within the scope of the EU funded project OI-Net.

Associate Professor Eric Soderquist, DMST, School of Business, and Head of Academic Affairs at i-MBA, is the representative for AUEB in the Pan-European OI-Net project. A total of 42 partners participate in this project, led by Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland, aiming at developing new skills and mindsets required in order to reach success in Open Innovation (OI).

Part of the project consists of surveying companies about their use of Open Innovation, how they organize in order to embrace it and what their needs in terms of related skills are. 59 responses were collected from a sample of 180 Greek companies of all sizes and across industry sectors. We wish to thank warmly all the respondents for their contribution! Not surprisingly, companies in the software and IT / Telecom industries are the strongest adopters of OI, but the spread across sectors show that OI also concerns tourism, healthcare, food and transportation.

Although only 12% indicate that they are experienced adopters of OI, close to 70% of the respondents indicate that they are in early adoption stages or at least are planning to adopt more open innovation business models (17%). Overall, all respondents indicate that they wish to reinforce all their activities related to OI.

OI practices adopted by Greek companies are mainly external idea scanning, external collaborations in the innovation process, and active participation in standardization activities. Many, especially the smaller and younger firms, also engage in co-creation of innovations with customers. IP in-licensing and out-licensing score low, due to the weak patenting activity of Greek companies, although for those that do depose patents, this practice is also part of their strategy along with what industry leaders do internationally.

Among the skills company recruiters seek in new hires in order to strengthen Open Innovation, teamworking, networking and general communication skills score highest. Very highly sought-for are also individuals with entrepreneurial skills, and this irrespective of the size of the responding organization.

The high interest for Open Innovation and its processes, activities and related skills was indicated by many respondents as a way to strengthen competitiveness and outward-orientation in the Greek crisis context. Fully tapping in to the opportunities of collaboration with all internal and external stakeholders, combining internal and external data to create new opportunities, and innovating with partners by sharing risk and reward are some of the strategic directions companies implement.

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