What is Open Innovation?
The concept of Open Innovation developed when companies realised that, whilst they may have exceptional talent working for them, they don’t have access to all the talented innovators in the world. The aim of OI is to be able to access the talent pool and external ideas regionally or globally without directly employing these individuals or acquisition of other organisations. This doesn’t mean an end to internal research and development; on the contrary, it is a method to grow business without using up substantial resources at the idea generation stage.
Going beyond the collaborative working relationships, it allows companies and institutes to share the rewards, but also the risks and resources through leveraging external IP and knowhow.
What is the IQE Open Technology Challenge?
The aim of the Technology Challenge is to work with businesses and academic institutions in Wales to develop and enhance a regional supply chain, from semiconductors and other base materials through to end products. The programme will focus on the Three Grand Challenges, as identified in the Science for Wales strategy;
- Advanced Materials and Engineering and
- Sustainable Energy and the Environment.
What are the benefits for businesses in Wales?
There are a wealth of success stories on the significant improvement on ROI for businesses that engage in Open Innovation, but there is more to be gained through the OpenIQE programme.
Developing parts of a regional supply chain could act as the stepping stone towards building a technology cluster in Wales. This, in turn, could lead to regional growth in the industry and create more jobs, eventually creating a stable economy that is able to attract a greater share of the available European and UK funding.
There is a considerable shift in attitudes to funding within the UK and the EU, as is evident from Horizon2020. There is greater focus on programmes that are relevant to the Key Enabling Technologies and those that can help towards bridging the Valley of Death by providing solutions that can meet Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 4-9. Partnerships towards delivering real products and solutions are likely to have a better chance of accessing UK and EU funding schemes.