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Looking back on a decade of open innovation.

It may seem odd to do a retrospective issue on a subject whose arrival on the scene is as recent as open innovation, but since the concept was first named and studied by Henry Chesbrough, it has taken the world of innovation by storm. This is in part because the concept generated a deeper understanding of the many paths to value an innovation may take. It is also due to the parallel rise of collaborative information technologies and the practice of open innovation. The Internet didn't just make it easier to find, connect to, and collaborate with parties outside corporate walls; it also disrupted everything, including corporate innovation. The adoption of open innovation is a response to this fundamental disruption. It is more than just a clever way to improve innovation efficiency; it has become an essential way of competing in a world of falling barriers to innovation.

Our retrospective issue begins with "Where We've Been and Where We're Going," a personal consideration of the state of open innovation by Henry Chesbrough. Chesbrough discusses the evolution of the concept, from its roots in spinouts and partnerships to its current diverse set of practices. He reveals both his frustration that open business-model innovation has not gained more traction and his enthusiasm for more recent research in open innovation for services. He also shares his thoughts about the future, predicting that open innovation will expand to include networks of smaller players and that building and nurturing communities will become a key to success with open innovation.

Chesbrough's original research was founded on experiments with new approaches to innovation in corporations. This issue includes discussions with two of the early pioneers of open innovation--Gil Cloyd of Procter & Gamble and Alph Bingham of Eli Lilly and innoCentive. Cloyd was CTO of P&G during the radical transformation of its R&D capabilities (described in part in A.G. Lafley's book Game Changer). In my interview with him, Cloyd discusses the motivation for change at P&G, the range of organizational challenges P&G faced in driving the initiative through the corporation, and his view of the critical factors that led to success. At P&G, open innovation not only accelerated market-relevant product introductions but also helped to increase R&D productivity dramatically.

Our C-Scape entry this month profiles another open innovation pioneer, Alph Bingham, the founder (and co-inventor) of InnoCentive. During his career at Eli Lilly, Bingham helped to launch a half dozen businesses, each of which leverages some aspect of open innovation. He discusses his career and gives some advice to future intrapreneurs in the last-page feature.

This issue looks forward, as well, by including reports on open innovation works in progress at two companies seeking to embed open innovation more deeply in their cultural DNA. In "GE's Open Collaboration Model," Michael Idelchik, GE's CTO, and Sam Kogan, president of open-innovation firm GEN3 Partners, discuss how General Electric is using open collaboration as a platform for growth in adjacent markets--and a tool for transforming the way GE does innovation. Paul Nakagaki, Josh Aber, and Terry Fetterhoff consider the "Challenges of Implementing Open Innovation" at Roche. Their open and honest discussion of the difficulties of driving organizational change in a global organization will provide fellow innovators with both practical ideas and the consolation that they are not alone. Both of these articles are resources for innovation leaders seeking to accelerate the adoption of open innovation within their corporations.

Last, but not least, Rob Spencer has written a lively historical piece on the Longitude Act, arguably the first large-scale open innovation initiative--and a very successful one. Spencer explains how many of the principles that made the Longitude Act successful 300 years ago are equally applicable today.

The issue concludes with an article by Goffin and Varnes on the use of ethnographic market research in new product and service development. Ethnography is not generally considered a tool for open innovation, perhaps because it seeks to discover customer problems more than it seeks the answers to them. It does, however, get innovators out of the lab and (to some extent) outside their orthodoxies and biases. As such, the article by Goffin and Varnes provides a useful addition to the issue's focus on open innovation.

We are excited by this issue--both by the range and quality of the articles and by the way they complement one another. It is a retrospective, but one that provides a useful insight for the future. We hope that you find it helpful in your journey.

Jim Euchner is editor-in-chief of Research-Technology Management and vice president of global innovation at Goodyear. He previously held senior management positions in the leadership of innovation at Pitney Bowes and Bell Atlantic. He holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Cornell and Princeton Universities, respectively, and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. euchner@iriweb.org

DOI: 10.5437/08956308X5504002
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Title Annotation:FROM THE EDITOR
Author:Euchner, Jim
Publication:Research-Technology Management
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2012
Words:816
Previous Article:The 2011 Maurice Holland Award.
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