What is Open Innovation?

Definition of Open Innovation

Example: The ISPO OPEN INNOVATION platform, which is jointly operated by Messe München and Innolytics AG. Tens of thousands of athletes develop new ideas for products and services together with companies and consumers within the industry.

Discover the age of open innovation in the white paper. Learn how you can use your customers as development partners by building innovation networks.

Open Innovation Whitepaper

At Open Innovation, internal ideas from idea management and external ideas flow equally into the development of new products, services, and business models. The exchange of knowledge and the networking of know-how, which is typical for opening up the innovation process, also helps companies to optimise processes – according to new technical aspects – and develop disruptive innovations.

  • S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland used Open Innovation to generate new service ideas together with its passengers
  • The ski boot manufacturer Dalbello used Open Innovation to receive consumer feedback at an early stage in the development phase of a potential new ski boot.
  • A leading German insurance company used Open Innovation to optimise homeowners’ insurance, cyber-insurance, and sports insurance.

Open Innovation can be divided into three categories:

  • Outside-in: The ideas come from outside and are used for innovations, e. g. through royalties within the company.

  • Inside-out: New processes have already emerged from within the company, which are outsourced, for example, by founding a start-up company.

  • Kooperativ: Ideas are developed together, e. g. processes between manufacturer and supplier can be optimised through cooperation.

One Example of Open Innovation

Video Case Study Open Innovation:
Tens of thousands of athletes develop products and concepts for the sports industry together with companies and consumers. Idea competitions and product and concept tests are regularly held on the ISPO OPEN INNOVATION platform. The platform is based on the Open Innovation Platform of Innolytics AG.

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Using the Open Innovation Platform

The basic prerequisite for the implementation and use of Open Innovation is a willingness to be unbiased and receptive to the ideas of others and to share knowledge with them. The Idea Finder, usually an organisation, actively involves customers, suppliers, business partners, external creative professionals, students, unconventional thinkers, and experts with different backgrounds in the development of ideas. Knowledge, new ideas, and innovative concepts are jointly generated by the idea givers from outside.

Innolytics AG supports companies in tapping the creative potential of customers and experts and opening up the innovation process through innovation consulting, consultation on digitisation, and open innovation platform:

  • Planning and conception of open innovation activities

  • Setting up a platform based on Innolytics® Open Innovation Software

  • Training and education of employees

  • Management of Open Innovation Campaigns

What drives Open Innovation?

The Internet is the driving force behind the current development of Open Innovation and fosters the open innovation process. In Web 2.0 and in social media networks, consumers and users communicate independent of time and place. New online applications, such as user design tools, internet-based test and analysis tools and idea platforms support the joint development of ideas.

Open innovation platform and co-creation

Open Innovation Platform

On open innovation platforms, companies organise online idea competitions in which creative people from across the globe can participate and generate new ideas. With the help of Open Innovation Communities, Internet users develop proposals for solutions to a specific problem – also known as crowdsourcing. Organisations use what is commonly known as swarm intelligence.


Co-Creation and customer co-creation are others way to support the development of ideas through open innovation processes. The difference between co-creation and crowdsourcing is that the idea givers work together – collaboratively – on a solution. The Innolytics® Open Innovation Platform makes it possible to specifically invite users to participate in different idea competitions and co-creation campaigns.

Through the whitepaper “Open Innovation – The Customer as a Development Partner” you get to know case studies of Open Innovation and co-creation campaigns.

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Open innovation in innovation management

The demands on innovation processes and the management of innovations have changed considerably in recent years. The markets are developing much more quickly today, and have become far more unpredictable. Customer needs have become more individual. Technological progress and the presence of online technologies open up opportunities to increase innovation potential and jointly develop and share knowledge.

The most innovative companies implement Open Innovation

Companies that react more flexibly to market developments and develop their products closer to customer needs can better meet the increased demands. This is how the most innovative companies have built innovation networks. They have embraced the basic idea of Open Innovation, and have focused upon an open innovation process.

Learn more about open innovation platforms