The European Union's Economy and Employment Growth is directly linked to the shift to an innovation and knowledge-based economy. Modern innovation processes require much faster reaction than ever before - organizations require the skilled labour to face the challenges of modern innovation-driven economies. It also creates certain challenges for universities who need to increase collaboration between each other as well as with other industry players in order to provide the market with the skilled graduates answering modern requirements.
As of begining 2013, the situation/state of the art of Open Innovation and Education and Training has been as follow.
Open innovation concept has been a part of Innovation Management and Global Innovation Management research for already many years, and now it is being integrated in teaching (however rather inconsistently). Since its introduction, OI has become one of the most attractive topics in innovation research – many companies selected to follow this paradigm in their daily business processes, which is not always easy. Researching the challenges of open innovation implementation in companies, researchers observed that distinctively new skill- and mindsets are required in order to reach success in open innovation. This rising market need for OI way of thinking has created a demand for open innovation as a teaching discipline of its own.
The Academic Network for Open Innovation (OI-Net) is designed to facilitate European cooperation on open innovation by outlining and exchanging up-to-date concepts, and good practices in open innovation and open innovation education.
As emphasized in the presentation of the initial situation, mainly so far [as of early 2013] some curricula on Innovation Management do exist. However, they do not deal properly with open innovation (only a very few HEIs added some modules or even courses related to open innovation as such). Based on the convergence of the analysis by the various practitioners and research networks, the need to include OI as a full teaching discipline has to be fulfilled to meet the job market needs for skilled employees and therefore to increase the competitiveness of the European enterprises. This problem is especially critical to the SMEs which cannot afford big innovation management teams with specialised skills and which need the specialists who have a holistic understanding of open innovation processes and activities.