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Start arrow Agenda arrow 22@Breakfast arrow Past Events arrow 22@Update Breakfast September 2008
22@Update Breakfast September 2008
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Open innovation, a new way to work together.                                 

The Internet era has opened up previously unheard of lines of communication. The ability to create networks and access specialists from all over the world, in addition to constantly changing technology and economic situations, is forcing companies to rethink their closed research and production model and consider looking for collaborators and talent beyond their front doors.

At the September 22@ Update Breakfast, Franc Ponti, business creativity and innovation consultant and professor at EADA, spoke about the topic of .Open Innovation..

The term innovation refers to the ability to generate original ideas in different areas, like services, products, strategies, opening new markets, etc. These ideas create added value. Innovation can be open or closed: based on collaboration and exchange or done behind closed doors.

The Internet, and the resulting ability to create collaborative networks, has brought about a radical change in the way companies relate to each other and in the way they look for talent. Open innovation implies a change in mentality that can be summarized in the following points:
  • The belief that there is always more talent outside the company.
  • The awareness that an individual company does not have sufficient resources and must explore and forge external links.
  • It is important to have not only a good idea but also a good business model.
  • Opinions must be based on our surroundings.
  • Young people.s opinions are important, as they have a unique point of view.
This means we mustn.t work in isolation or think that all the necessary information can be found inside the company itself. .We must make an effort to take advantage of collective knowledge,. explained Ponti. Not only is it important to know how to use what is around us, we must also foster collaboration and avoid creating a secretive, closed environment.

There are a number of companies that are currently applying the concept of open innovation, noteworthy among which are:
  • InnoCentive, a company that provides R&D support, connecting companies, academic institutions, public sector and non-profit organizations. They have a program called Connect & Develop that allows users to connect with a network of 157,000 specialized collaborators from all over the world in exchange for compensation.
  • Jones Soda is a good example of a social business, meaning that it is integrated into its social surroundings. The labels of their bottles are designed by thousands of people online. They then choose the most attractive ones and put them on the bottles. Those that are willing to pay can even get a pack of bottles with their own, personalized design.
  • Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is a collaborative phenomenon featuring a wide variety of information. They have 1,300,000 registered users and articles in 250 languages.
  • IBM, which proposes innovative challenges in periodical global jam sessions. 53,000 people participated in their last challenge, to find new ways to use IBM products in a radically different way, for which they offered a 100,000-dollar prize.
Innovator of the Month, Antoni Paz, executive director of Kimbcn, introduced his foundation, which has a team of 20 people working on markets, innovation and knowledge; they are professionals from different backgrounds with varied training and professional experience.

This foundation, which is privately funded, aims to provide companies and organizations with technological value, offering solutions tapered to different phases of the value chain, from research to commercialization, including development and protection.

.We are an open innovation experience,. said Paz, as the foundation was born in 2006 out of a joint project between the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and the UPC Technology Park. The aim is to speed up the process of change and foster collaboration in order to .avoid absurd competition among different companies that are twenty kilometers from each other and don.t know about the competition that.s thousands of kilometers from them,. concluded Paz.

We must think of innovation as a daily activity, not something extraordinary. Companies that take this approach make the most progress, especially in this day and age characterized by change and the turbulent situation of the economy, markets and companies. Likewise, teamwork, multi-source talent and good talent management are essential. Above all, R&D innovation must be accompanied by an innovative business model, so that the patent process doesn.t hinder the flow of new ideas into the market.

Europe needs more innovation. This is the result of two main problems: lack of money and bad management of what money there is. Money is invested to generate knowledge, but this knowledge doesn.t generate money because the process doesn.t follow new business models that allow a return on the investment. This is why technology transfer must be managed by a private company, with independent aims, seeking specialization in order to make knowledge generation more efficient. To do this, Kimbcn is working with local supply and demand to find the proprietary technology companies need in national research centers.

Agustí Ten, vice-president of the 22@Network association, explained that the district is now home to more than eighty companies, the newest being: Bau, School of Design; Innotalentum; SINC and CETUC. Moreover, he explained that the following events will take place in October and December: 22@Volunteering, Digital District, Welcome for companies in the district, 22@Staying in company and Inside 22@ (Barcelona Festival of Visual Arts and Contemporary Music).

To finish up September.s breakfast, Vicente Guallart, director of the IAAC (Catalan Institute of Advanced Architecture) introduced the organization. The IAAC is an international education, research and development center for architecture. This private foundation collaborates on the Master in Advanced Architecture offered at the UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia), which has participants from all over the world.

.We try to develop self-sufficient buildings that produce 100% of the energy they consume,. commented Guallart. To do this, they work with a broad definition of architecture, involving different levels of territorial analysis and urban development, as well as architectonic projects, digital executions and informative environments.


Open innovation is based on the belief that there is always more talent outside the company, making it important to collaborate and share information.

Innovation cannot focus solely on R&D, but must also include business models that allow a monetary return on investment.

The Internet era has changed the way we understand knowledge and interaction. Networks allow anyone to connect with specialists from around the world.


.The presentation on open innovation was very interesting. It.s a concept I wasn.t aware of and has opened my eyes..

.Great, I love the Breakfast events. A+ for 22@, the 22@Network and today.s topic, .Open Innovation. .a business initiative that is very relevant to technological added value in companies.... as for the location, stunning.»

.A very interesting topic in innovation. Innovation is the future of all companies, if we want to be sustainable. These contributions from such knowledgeable people really help companies in the district work together and get ahead in these difficult times..

  • 22@Volunteering is an initiative open to anyone who is part of the 22@Network and wants to support social, educational and cultural projects developed by organizations and associations in the Sant Martí District: helping people with reduced mobility, digital literacy classes, practicing Spanish or Catalan with newcomers, etc.
  • 22@Staying in company is an internship project that makes the best students available to innovative companies located in 22@Barcelona in order to attract, retain and concentrate international and local talent in the district.s businesses, fostering productivity and innovation in the district.
  • Jam session. The term jam session was coined by George Frazier. According to Wikipedia it refers to .musical improvisation on known melodies without prior preparation [...] creating short pieces, freely improvised by the group as a whole.. This term has also become part of business jargon. For IBM, a jam session is a Web 2.0 tool for business collaboration. They create a mass online conversation, lasting 72 hours and centering on critical issues and business strategies, in order to analyze emerging trends in real time. The first IBM jam session took place in 2001, with a global brainstorming on new business opportunities.

To download Franc Ponti's corporate portfolio, please click here (663 Kb)

To download Kimbcn's corporate portfolio, please click here (4,2 Mb)

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