iP News: Science Parks as Open Innovation arenas

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The term Open Innovation is more relevant than ever. We live in a time when competition is
truly global and knowledge is easily and widely distributed. This development has led to an
increased pressure on both small and large companies to differentiate themselves against
competitors and to create new customer values at an ever-increasing pace.

An important consequence of the fast changing world we live in is that the definition of the term ”innovation” needs to be broadened – from focusing on product and technology to a broader view based on value creation. It includes all different aspects that can create new perceived customer value such as new services, processes and business models.

Many companies now realize that they cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research. Thus they need to find new input, knowledge and technologies from outside the company.

A science park is a perfectly suitable environment for companies who are seeking new input in their innovation efforts. It is designed to be stimulating meeting place for innovative companies, academia, research institutions and the public sector.

Most of the companies in a science park are small or medium sized companies but the trend is that more and more large corporations are getting connect to the open innovation arenas that the science parks provide.

Many science parks have well developed processes in facilitating open (or semi-open)
innovation processes. The process is definitely not linear, but rather a non-linear iterative
process. Early stages of an idea can be implemented as e.g. proof-of-concept,
demonstrators or prototypes. This can be handled naturally in an open arena within a
science park. Later stages of an idea, related to the commercialization and market
introduction, is preferable driven by the companies themselves with the opportunity to take
advantage of the expertise that exists within the science park community.

There is obviously a huge potential to create new innovations based on research and
development carried out in and around a science park environment. Making use of that
expertise and creativity leads to great opportunities for companies who engage in the
science park activities.

Article by Magnus Lundin, CEO Swedish Incubators & Science Parks