The European Academic Network for Open Innovation (OI-Net) has been designed to promote cooperation between European higher education institutes jointly with European practitioner associations, companies, research and innovation centres for the benefit of the European economy. It aims to tune open innovation education in higher education systems and to raise standards in innovation education across Europe to ensure companies benefit from the education outcomes.
The target beneficiaries are: higher education institutions (HEIs) who wish to incorporate open innovation to its curricula, teachers and researchers of open innovation (who via OI-Net platform can access course modules, case studies, useful teaching materials, research reports, information on workshops, trainings, and share ideas and good practices with other community members); enterprises adopting, or planning to implement open innovation; students/graduates who plan their future in the open innovation field; and governance.
This ambitious networking initiative is the largest European project on open innovation education to date and involved 51 institutions and organizations from 35 European countries. It had at least one higher educational institution per European country involved in the project (with only one exception, Luxembourg represented by a research partner) as well as 10 other partners including public bodies, enterprises and associations, all active in the innovation management field either by teaching, researching or practicing, consulting, training. Through the cooperation in OI-Net, all partners were able to share their own expertise and insights on open innovation and teaching open innovation, validate own methodologies with colleagues and collect guidelines from the business sector regarding demand of skilled open innovation graduates. This multi-country/multi-sector approach was essential for the project studying the higher education and industry uptake in the field of open innovation in the entire Europe and the added-value of such multi-country partnership goes beyond expected.
The methods used in the project involved industrial needs analysis conducted in every country-participant; exchanging methodologies and good practices on open innovation; comparing and developing compendium and curricula, preparation of teaching materials and teaching guidelines, and developing the Common Curricula Framework on open innovation in higher education that has been implemented in 13 pilot courses. The scope of OI-Net activities also include organizing workshops and seminars in the field of open innovation and open innovation education and building a Community of Practice linked with OI-Net platform to execute the sustainability and dissemination plans.
The most important outcomes of the project are:
- Development ofOI-Net platformevelop a Community of Practice on open innovation and creates a network, which facilitates communication of open innovation teachers and practitioners with each other, facilitating European cooperation and beyond.
It includes Public Library, developed and continuously updated by the project members with the new materials on curricula development, new books, reports and articles related to open innovation and teaching of open innovation, as well as information about OI-Net events and project meetings. The materials in the ‘Public library’ are available for all the platform users, even if they are not registered. By this, it increases knowledge of all stakeholders interested in the topic of open innovation.
Over 200 000 page views have been recorded with over 40 000 users, out of which 80% came from Europe, receiving also great interest from other parts of the world (total recorded visits from 156 countries). It shows that OI-Net platform is noticed and created an impact not only in Europe but engages in worldwide dialogue on open innovation and is a great source of knowledge. On average, the reports created by OI-Net project were downloaded 1 500 times and the number is expected to grow.
- Creation of e-book - Innovation Education Reloaded: Nurturing Skills for the Future. The Open Innovation Handbook
Initially, the OI-Net project aimed at publishing a book as a collection of reports provided by each of the work packages. However, thanks to the great dedication and interest of consortium partners, the concept of the book was extended to materials and pedagogical guidelines in line with the Common Curricula Framework. This fulfils (or even exceeds) all of the project objectives. As a result, OI-Net has developed the first teaching e-handbook on open innovation, “INNOVATION EDUCATION RELOADED: Nurturing Skills for the Future” with the objective to be used as teaching support in open innovation courses and curricula.
The book concept implies a life e-book with ready to use teaching materials, guidelines, recommendations, cases and links to external sources. Also, by including the introductory parts on the why (Envisioning the Future of Innovation Education: Making Open Innovation Mainstream) and the how (it can improve personal and company’s level learning), it extends its target group to companies and policy makers. This is one of the most important outcomes of the project that all project partners take great pride in. 45 book chapter contributors were involved in the process dedicating their free time to reach the end result. Also, external authors (not part of OI-Net initial project consortium) volunteered to contribute, including a practitioner’s section on the insights on the need to implement open innovation in a company and the need for OI education. The book was launched at the end of the project. The impact to the OI community is a sustainable one and many educators and practitioners showed great interest in.
- Thematic special issue in Journal of Innovation Management on "Open Innovation & Firms' performance"
- Report on Industrial Needs for Open Innovation Education
In order to understand industry needs for open innovation education, OI-Net partners ran a survey among companies across Europe, and received over 500 responses from 35 countries. This significant amount of responses was made possible thanks to the active involvement of all the project partners to the data collection and their commitment to the common goal. This First European Survey on Identification of Industrial Needs for Open Innovation Education was conducted in June 2014 - February 2015.
The survey questionnaire is available in the Public library, as one of the project deliverables. Almost all companies provided positive feedback on the survey and indicated that the topic of the survey is important. They also expressed their interest in receiving the report on the results and over 100 companies indicated being interested in further collaboration, participating in interviews, case studies, workshops and conferences, as well as remaining in touch and participate in further research on open innovation and being informed on the upcoming initiative and events organized by OI-Net project.
The results of the project activities aiming at collecting and analysing the industrial needs for open innovation education are presented in the form of:
- Report on Industrial Needs for Open Innovation Education – downloaded nearly 3 000 times.
- Report on Open Innovation in European Industries – executive summary – 1 600+ downloads
- Recommendations for open innovation Education Development – 2 500+ downloads
These reports provide summary of the methodology, data collection process, data descriptive representation and analysis of open innovation activities adoption, open innovation needs, and skills and abilities that open innovation specialist should have.
The results of the reports were presented several times and on the different stages during partnership meetings and conferences.
The data gathered within the WP2 had following impact:
- First, serving its primary purpose, the data on skills needed for open innovation specialists and open innovation manager profile, together with recommendations for universities on curriculum development was utilized as an input for curriculum development during the project. This activity served as staring point and input data for other project activity, thus it had primary important internal impact on the project.
- Second, the report (especially the Executive Report) was done for companies’ purpose, and was first disseminated to companies participating in the survey, as well as many other companies during dissemination events, conferences and workshops (we estimate the dissemination reached 5000+ companies). The feedback received from companies indicated that the information provided in the report helped to increase the awareness on different open innovation aspects and raise the discussions in the companies on the structuring of the OI process, the functions of OI specialists, and necessity and availability of personnel training.
- Third, the data and results were used for educational purposes during the courses on Open Innovation, Innovation Management, and Research Methods for Master students. Depending on the course, the OI was discussed on the content parts of lectures and exercises, and on methodology courses.
- Forth, the results were used in several master theses as well as doctoral dissertations.
- Finally, the data collected by survey served for research purposes. Many conference paper were written collaboratively by partners and presented on the conferences (e.g. ISPIM conference, Academy of Management, World Open Innovation Conference, R&D Management Conference). The publications have always received positive feedback from practitioners and academia and are currently undergoing process of submission to academic journals.
The repository of cases as teaching materials has been continuously developed. It includes nearly 30 categorized cases on open innovation developed by OI-Net partners as well as nearly 50 additional cases were collected and classified. Furthermore, it includes list of additional external cases that were categorized by country/industry/OI topic with link to external resources. These case studies encompass strategic concerns, i.e. why do firms engage into Open Innovation strategies; organizational questions, i.e. what modes and practices of Open Innovation are selected, how are those implemented, and what are the obstacles and catalysts for doing so; and performance-related issues, such as what is the impact of Open Innovation practices on firm’s performance. This resulted in the development of an online repository of case studies, either descriptive or instructive, reflecting the diversity of experiences - positive and negative - with Open Innovation across Europe. All these have been accomplished thanks to the dedication of project partners to share the experiences and good practices and increasing knowledge between them and all OI community.
- The compendium on existing curricula in Europe.
As a first to reach the first OI-Net objective (to fill the gap in terms of structured open innovation in higher education) the compendium on existing curricula was developed. It is available in the Public library and provides an overview and analysis of 272 study programs, which includes open innovation as a topic at bachelor, master and PHD level taught in 108 universities from 31 European countries. The collection of such big number of study programmes was impressive and showed both the commitment of the partners and the force of such a large network.
The results indicated that less than 30% of programs included topics related to open innovation and opened up a discussion on the ways how to improve the curricula. The report was downloaded nearly 2 000 times.
As part of the WP 4 activities two additional reports were created both downloaded more than 2 000 times:
- Manual for New Courses on Open Innovation Development, Considering the Multi- disciplinary Approach in Open Innovation and Higher Education - the manual included instruction for new courses on OI development, considering the multi-disciplinary approach in OI and in HE. This manual relies on a comprehensive set of Learning Outcomes that may be used as reference in the construction of OI programs on bachelor, master and Ph.D. level. It also includes training material, illustrating open innovation curricula and multi-disciplinary approach.
- Indicators and progress markers for Open Innovation in Higher Education curricula - The aim of this report is to provide insights and an increased understanding of the key indicators which Higher Education curricula need to take into consideration when designing and analysing programs and which are appropriate for the needs of organisations. The approach is needs-driven, taking into account all the stakeholders involved in the development process.
- Report on generic and specific competences & skills for Open Innovation teachers and trainers (Survey results)
The report provides results of the survey organized by OI-Net project consortium. The survey was aimed on identification generic and specific competences and skills for OI teachers and trainers. Teachers in several countries across Europe were invited to participate in the on-line survey. Out of over 300 entries recorded in years 2015 and 2016, 207 covered the whole survey.
- Open Innovation Common Curricula Framework and its validation by running 13 pilots (originally planned 3)
As part of the main objective of OI-Net aims to improve teaching open innovation in Higher Education in Europe and to demonstrate the implementation/integration of the European open innovation curricula, the Common Curricula Framework (CCF) has been developed by the project team. This framework links the identified learning objectives to a (course) structure and teaching materials that can be used to teach open innovation in various educational settings. The Common Curriculum Framework guides teachers as they develop and implement their teaching and learning programmes. The CCF and materials available on the OI-Net platform has been piloted too. Initially, OI-Net’s objective was to launch three pilots of the curricula to validate its importance and transferability in different country settings, modules, disciplines. This objective was exceeded as 13 pilots had been carried out. These pilots have been executed at different teaching levels (bachelor, master, PhD and executive training) in 8 different countries (University of Athens, Greece; Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands; Scuola Superiore Sant’Ana, Italy; Liknöping University, Sweden; Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia; University of Economics in Katowice; Poland; University of Zagreb, Croatia; Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania) reaching 371 students. Experienced teachers were in constant contact and shared their experience and good practices with teachers willing to organise the pilots in their institutions. In several pilots the OI-Net teaching materials have been modified in order to fit to the specific background of the study and regional context.
The insights from pilots were shared by piloting facilitators during the OI-Net full partnership meeting, fulfilling the objectives of OI-Net project to building community of practice that share experiences and good practices. Furthermore, they are clearly linked with the other main objective to demonstrate the implementation/integration of the European open innovation curricula.
Apart from 13 official pilots, many of the OI-Net consortium partners have indicated using the CFF and materials available on the OI-Net platform in their courses (over 30 additional lectures/courses on open innovation took place reaching nearly 1 000 students on different levels) and 25% of surveyed institutions will introduce the new open innovation course to their curricula as it has not existed before.
During OI-Net project the data on teaching competences, expertise and personal characteristics that support the teaching of open innovation, have been collected. Based on this data, pedagogical guidelines for designing and executing educational programmes on open innovation, were developed.
- Organization and support of workshops, seminars and other events
As the main objectives of the OI-Net project was to develop a European Community of Practice in Higher Education, to enhance quality of education in the field of open innovation by exchanging methodologies and good practices, the great focus was placed on organizing workshops, seminars and other events in the field of open innovation and open innovation education. These events are the main outcomes of the project that resulted in increased knowledge of the participants, transnational exchange of ideas and good practices, policy lessons and new cooperation. Also, creating strong link between academia, business and policy makers.
The key workshops organized by OI-Net were:
- Workshop meeting, Barcelona, Spain, April 10-11, 2014
Project partners met to work in parallel on the content of four work packages (detailed described in previous section). The meeting was combined with panel discussions, round table discussions as well as a speech of invited guest Joan Tarradellas, Chief Executive Officer (Conseller Delegat) at the Catalan Agency for Business Competitiveness (Government of Catalonia), Spain.
- Open Innovation workshop for Industry and Higher Education with Henry Chesbrough, May 28-29 2014, Luxembourg
The workshop was hosted by the European Investment Bank and co-organised with AMCHAM and Prof. Marko Torkkeli (OI-Net Project Manager, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland) it featured the keynote speaker Henry Chesbrough, the "Godfather of Open Innovation" and prof. Marko Torkkeli introduced the OI-Net project to 140 gathered participants). Other speakers included: Marc Hemmerling (ABBL), Thierry Goniva (IEE), Anne-Laure Mention (Public Research Centre Henri Tudor / OI-Net representative), Bror Salmelin (European Commission), Gunnar Muent (European Investment Bank), Benoit Duez (Goodyear)
The information on the event received over 4 000 hits at OI-Net platform.
- Full partnership meeting combined with ISPIM conference and Open Innovation 2.0 Conference, June 11-13, 2014, Dublin, Ireland
During the first day, OI-Net partners could network and exchange ideas with ISPIM attendees (approx. 500 innovation professionals from academia, industry and public bodies). OI-Net organized two workshops:
Session facilitators: Wim Vanhaverbeke, Professor of Strategy & Innovation Management UHasselt, Belgium and Anna Trifilova, University of Exeter, UK & Fraunhofer MOEZ, Germany,
Invited speakers: Alberto Di Minin, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy; Antero Kutvonen , Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland; Fabian S. Schlage, Head of Idea & Innovation Management, Chief Technology Officer, Nokia; Alexander Brem, Professor of Technology and Innovation Management University of Southern, Denmark
Amount of participants: 50+
Session facilitators: Anna Trifilova, University of Exeter, UK & Fraunhofer MOEZ, Germany and Justyna Dabrowska, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland
Speakers: Antero Kutvonen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland; Catherine Equey, Geneva School of Business Administration, Switzerland; Alberto Di Minin, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy; Monika Petraite, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania; Michael Dell, WIFI | WKO Austria; Sandra Dingli, University of Malta, Malta; Robin Kleer, RWTH Aachen University, Germany; Marina Dabic, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Amount of participants: 60+
The workshops were video recorded and are available on OI-Net youtube channel as well as in OI-Net Public Library supported with presentations.
The meeting continued with other planned activities for OI-Net partners only and included welcoming speech by Bror Salmelin, Advisor, Innovation Systems, DG Communication Networks, Contents and Technology, European Commission & Board Member of the OISPG - Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group; different round table discussions were organized followed by working on content of different work packages.
Day two of the OI-Net meeting was combined with Open Innovation 2.0 conference organized by Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group. The conference gathered together high-level decision makers, leading innovation experts and practitioners from across the globe. Together they co-created a document to pave the way for future innovation policies and actions to increase prosperity and wealth, and to create more jobs and growth in Europe. Thanks to strong link with OISPG, the OI-Net partners had a privilege to participate in it and share their experiences.
- Workshop meeting in Warsaw, Poland, November 11-13, 2014
The aim of the meeting was to work on the content of individual work packages, as well as exchange ideas and methodologies on open innovation and teaching open innovation. It included presentation of survey results on industrial needs; followed by workshop and sharing example of “the best practices of teaching innovation and entrepreneurship to college students: Skills for the Future (SFF) project assessment in Italy”. In addition, four round table discussions were organized.
- Full partnership meeting in Budapest, Hungary combined with ISPIM Conference, June 17-19, 2015
During the first day, OI-Net partners could network and exchange ideas with ISPIM attendees (approx. 500 attendees).
Two workshops were organized:
Session facilitators: Anna Trifilova, University of Exeter, UK & Fraunhofer MOEZ, Germany and John Bessant, Exeter University, UK
Invited Speakers: Preben Friis, Theatre director and actor, Denmark; Nadine Roijakers, KIZOK-Hasselt University, Belgium
Amount of participants: 60+
Session facilitators: Anna Trifilova, University of Exeter, UK & Fraunhofer MOEZ, Germany; Irina Fiegenbaum and Ekaterina Albats, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland
Speakers: John Bessant, Exeter University, UK and Hagen Habicht, Center for Leading Innovation and Cooperation, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Germany
In addition, the OI-Net hosted a round table about “Do companies need open innovation managers?” attracting many practitioners and academia in active discussion.
The meeting continued with the Tour of OI-Net – presenting the OI-Net project and objectives to ISPIM community, round table discussions followed by work in work package groups.
- Workgroup meeting in Athens, Greece, September, 25-25 September 2015
The aim of the meeting was to work on the content of individual work packages, as well as exchange ideas and methodologies on open innovation and teaching open innovation. In addition, the pilot lecture on Open Innovation for 30 students on Master and PhD level was held and insights and student feedback from the lecture were presented to OI-Net partners. Moreover, the experience of one of OI-Net’s project partner (Catherine Equey, Geneva School of Business Administration, Switzerland) during her research exchange at Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, USA in Open Innovation team was shared with consortium partners.
- Workgroup meeting in Eindhoven, Netherlands, February 11-12, 2016
The main purpose of the meeting was to share the experiences from pilot courses, finalize the reports as well as discuss the vision for the upcoming OI-Net teaching handbook.
- OI-Net Seminaron Open Innovation combined with full partnership meeting, Porto, Portugal, June 15-17, 2016
The OI-Net Seminar on Open Innovation was a concluding dissemination event summarizing the project results and further building a strong link between academia, practitioners and policy makers and engaging in discussion on the open innovation topics. The featuring keynotes: Henry Chesbrough, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, USA, Hannes Erler, Director Open Innovation Networks, Innovation & Marketing, Swarovski Professional, Nuno Lopes Gama, Head of Innovation & Future Tech, SONAE, José Carlos Caldeira – National Innovation Agency, Portugal.
The information on the event was shared via OISPG group, Facebook, LinkedIn groups as well via OI-Net consortium partners and their network. As a result within less than 3 weeks from opening the online registration, the places were booked (200 registrations).
The seminar was followed by OI-Net research seminar with Chesbrough where OI-Net partners could share their recent research on open innovation and receive comments from the audience, main initiator of the whole concept (Chesbrough) as well as from one practitioner (Hannes Erler, Swarovski Professional) who expressed his interest in learning more on the recent research on the topic of open innovation.
As a result eight presentation tool place by partners representing different countries and disciplines. The seminar met with positive feedback from all participants and engaged in further ideas on collaboration activities among partners. Moreover, sessions on “Insights on Teaching Open Innovation” as well as on sessions introducing different games which can be used during open innovation courses took place as well as session on sharing insights on bringing OI awareness at regional level.
- Open lectures “Beyond the Borders through Education on Open Innovation” in Western Balkan Countries – Series of dissemination activities in universities in Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo as well as in Ministry of Innovation in Tirana, Republic of Albania. Open lectures were open to students, professors and invited people from business, local governments, civil society and media coming from local urban areas with total number exceeding 300 participants.
In addition to these main events, several sessions and workshops have been co-organized or held during different conferences (e.g. 2nd International Workshop ‘Multidisciplinary Approaches on Innovation, Vienna, Austria, 2014, OI-Net special session during European Regional Science Association Congress 2016, Vienna, Austria 2016; Insights from OI-Net-European Academic Network for Open Innovation during the European Programmes Conference Week – Ideas and Networking 2016, Nicosia, Cyprus; 2016 OI-Net during Academy of Management 2016 Annual Meeting, Anaheim; 2016 OI-Net Visibility Action during the 2016 EFMD Conference for Deans & Directors General, Budapest, Hungary and various different activities during ISPIM symposia) and main project ideas were shared during various activities.
The international visibility of every project partner had a multiplier effect on international visibility of the whole project itself. Thanks to impressive commitment of OI-Net consortium partners, it resulted in over 120 additional external events during which the OI-Net was promoted, 30 additional workshops at regional level, and over 30 lectures on open innovation (reaching nearly 1 000 students) and 9 seminars (http://oi-net.com/m-oinet-network/m-oinet-project/m-oinet-outcomes/121-c-deliverables/144-a-d-7-6-oi-seminars-conferences?showall=&start=1">the full list of activities is available at OI-Net platform) reaching thousands of beneficiaries.
In addition, following the objectives of the OI-Net project in promoting sharing of experiences and best practices on open innovation; enhancing the quality of education and building strong collaboration between partners, by stimulating the academic exchange many Erasmus staff mobility activities between partners took place increasing the overall impact of the project (e.g., between Lappeenranta University of Technology and University of Exeter, LUT and FH Wien, LUT and University of Nuremburg, University of Economics in Katowice and University of Zagreb). In addition, more visits have been already scheduled between other consortium partners in the coming years as part of the teaching staff exchange. Furthermore, as the result of the project many joint academic papers have been written between partners and more are planned for the coming years (the list of publications is available at the OI-Net platform).
Based on feedback received from each OI-Net meeting, outcome mapping, multiple discussions with project partners and results of the survey for external evaluation, the project turned out to be of high benefit for all project partners, during the project phase and in the exploitation phase following thereafter. Project partners got practical hands-on support tools to implement training for open innovation, to develop an OI curricula based on the common framework and have an e-Handbook on teaching materials for further use and expansion from the OI-community. Due to the involvement of a new EU-project the continued usage of the OI-NET platform is guaranteed.
To sum up, the outcomes, deliverables and results from the OI-Net project went far beyond its original main objectives:
- 13 pilots than initially planned 3 à greater penetration of the curricula à reaching 371 students
- Additional lectures/courses on open innovation taught by partner institutions using CCF and materials available at OI-Net platform reaching nearly 1 000 students from European universities.
- Strong links with industry, involvement of companies like Swarovski etc. who were interested and committed about collaboration and further implementation of the approach
- Strong collaboration with academia also outside the network (joint publications)
- Higher response rate on teacher’s skills than expected (teaching material and case repository)
- Wider dissemination than expected – more European coverage and also beyond Europe
- Stimulating academic exchange (Erasmus exchanges, joint publications, collaboration on research streams, new joint project initiatives)
- Increased internationalization of universities (more Erasmus contracts)
- Good quality guidelines
- e-Handbook on Teaching Materials and cases: OI reloaded
In the future, the OI-Net platform will remain the open innovation knowledge source and will be kept updated with additional resources and toolkits, including additional cases on open innovation in SMEs thanks to a new EU-funded project, which aims to professionalize open innovation processes within European’s SMEs. The free e-Handbook supported with teaching slides will also ensure the sustainability of the project. Thanks to building a strong partnership between consortium partners, teaching staff exchange visits as well as joint publications are already planned in the coming years. By building a Community of Practice and partnerships with other initiatives, the sessions and workshops on the topic of open innovation and open innovation education will continue.