Article: Open innovation based on startups and the innovative culture

- 14/12/2020

Currently, the Open Innovation model proposed by Henry Chesbrough from the University of California - Berkeley in the early 2000s has already spread out worldwide. In summary, the model proposes the companies to fertilize its innovation process, using the exiting opportunities better, in an open way, on other technological bases, in addition to their Internal Technological Base, such as, for example, universities and research institutions, feeding its innovation funnel.

However, in the recent years, a strategy has gained remarkable relevance, among those that the company develops to innovate. Basically, it consists of using startups intensive in the search for innovation in the market. In other words, the External Technological Base and the Incoming Technologies are mainly led by startups. In addition, this intensive use helps to develop entrepreneurial and innovative culture, which is not easily observed in structured companies, where deep behavioral change is required. This culture, which is found more easily in startups, is also highly desirable, if not essential, for companies which have to develop their innovations and even to interact with startups.

One way to do this is by means of the so-called "spin-in". This strategy to acquire and bring in is not new and has been used widely by large companies for many years, especially those intensive in Information Technology, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. These, as examples, use the "spin-in" strategy, acquiring dozens of startups per year. In other words, in short, they acquire innovations by acquiring startups.

However, the startups are important for the companies in general, not only to be acquired, but to help them innovate, often, to bring their own innovation. This is easily seen when it comes to process innovation. Organizations, which want to innovate in their business support areas, such as Human Resources, Purchasing, Finance, Accounting, Property, Contracts, Travel, Legal & Legal etc., find the best innovation proposals in these areas in the startups. The potential of these "techs" is so visible that we even deal with them in groups, such as HRtechs (human resources), Legaltechs (legal & legal), Adtechs (advertising & advertising), Martechs (digital marketing), etc.

But these relationships with startups are not necessarily restricted to process innovations, although they are more visible to them. Agritechs, Cleantechs, Edtechs, Fintechs, Foodtechs, Govtechs, Healthtechs, and Retailtechs, for example, can be great partners of the companies in their markets for the development of new products and new businesses, and to make go-to-market more feasible quickly and assertively.

The technological world has changed for some time now with the intensity of the number of technology startups and the volume of technological businesses they represent in all markets.

Therefore, undoubtedly, the Open Innovation strategy based on startups has already been intensely practiced. Prioritizing the search for innovation in the market, some companies even start to empty their Internal Technological Base (internal R&D), and concentrate the External Technological Base and the Incoming Technologies, protagonized by this strategy.

Not afraid to make a mistake, it can be said that the startups subverted the economic order "disruptively", and are now also contributing to transform the companies they interact with, bringing innovation and cooperating for the development of innovative culture, essential for the survival of any company on the market these days.

Anyway, the Open Innovation dynamics seems to have been attacked in a disruptive way by a "pandemic of the good for innovation", whose virus is the startup.

* Eduardo Grizendi is Engineering and Operations director at RNP.

Eduardo Grizendi