Open innovation models: Types & examples

Ana Vilar García

Open innovation is gaining momentum because of its many advantages for companies of any sector, size, and typology. Collaborating with others brings many unique benefits, it’s contagious and there are many different ways to implement it painlessly. 

In previous blog posts, we have tackled what is open innovation and even what types of corporate innovation there are. But today we want to explore this concept in depth and define the most relevant open innovation models to inspire your business. 

Intracompany: Collaborating with different individuals or teams within the same organization

Intracompanies are the most closed type of open innovation there is. In this rare type of innovation, different departments join forces in order to come with new ideas, services or products. 

Contrary to popular belief, open innovation can be carried out within the same company and still be considered open innovation, and intracompanies are the perfect examples of this. Why? Because open innovation implies collaboration between different agents, and if your company is large enough, this can be applied in the inside of your organization’s walls as well.

Examples of intracompanies

Examples of intracompanies include calls for ideas in the same company, squads that gather different team members, or innovation events that mix different departments in order to come up with new ideas.

Intercompany: Teaming up with other companies

Intercompany is a term used to describe the collaboration between two or more companies. This is the most popular type of open innovation model and there are multiple examples that illustrate what it is. Actually, this open innovation model is so popular, people tend to think that intercompanies and open innovation are synonyms with each other.

Examples of intercompanies

Examples of intercompanies include startup scouting, incubators, corporate accelerators and partnerships, among many others.

Using the intercompany model brings many different advantages. On the one hand, your company can benefit from teaming up with a similar company from another sector. On the other hand, you can also collaborate with different typologies of companies, such as startups, universities or public administrations. 

The union between large corporations and startups is one the most popular collaborations there are right now. Mixing the expertise and know-how of a large company with the creativity, innovation and agility of startups brings up unique benefits. but even if this is one the most popular open innovation models right now, this doesn’t mean that this is the perfect solution for you. Depending on your company’s sector, activity and goals, you can choose among different options.

Other types of intercompanies include a partnership: a temporary collaboration with an external company. You can go for this option if you’re looking for new ideas, but also if you wish to tackle new markets and audiences. 

Looking for an expert: Collaborating with one individual

Oftentimes we tend to think of open innovation as a collaboration between different companies or different groups of people, but collaborative innovation can also consist of counting on one sole expert.

Looking for an expert or guru in your target topic can help your company reach its desired innovation level.

Public innovation: Open to whole public

Opting for innovation programs that target any individual can bring way more new insights, perspectives and the outcome will probably surprise you. 

Examples of publicly open innovation

This type of open innovation includes public contests, hackathons, calls for ideas or innovation challenges, open to whoever is interested in joining the fun.

The outcome of these types of events is varied and full of surprises. You can use these models to attract talent, gather new ideas or create a helpful community around your organization. 

Do you have an appetite for innovation, but don’t know where to start? At Corporate Lab, we’re experts in new-business building and open innovation. Drop us a line if you know you want to innovate. We can discuss new disruptive ideas to keep your business ahead of the market curve, find new and complementary business models or simply jump into open innovation and enjoy a collaborative way of working. Let’s talk. 

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