Many companies have already discovered that breakthrough innovation needs openness to for cross-industry and cross-science approaches, and especially for new industries. The big question, the answer to which is worth millions of Euros, is how to do it.
In the middle of Germany, in the Rhine-Neckar region, InnovationLab is attempting to find an answer. InnovationLab is an innovation consortium of five companies and two universities, working on the emerging Organic Electronics industry. What is remarkable about InnovationLab is its approach to innovation, which focuses on the whole industry value chain.
Based on case evidence the article describes how to get cross-industry / cross-science innovation started and then how it should be structured.
Among these are:
- consistent and enduring Top Management support
- shared vision
- a value-chain-driven innovation approach
- physical proximity of the innovators involved
- professional management of individual projects and cross-project synergies
- management of IP issues, and agreement before collaboration starts
- building trust and personal relationships
- mechanisms for commercializing secondary innovation results.
About the authors
Managing Director, InnovationLab GmbH. Bernhard Schweizer studied physics and began his professional career as a software developer at SAP AG. He was Product Manager, Manager for Business Development and Assistant to a Member of the Executive Board before being appointed to Vice President for Regional Affairs. In this position, he was responsible for SAP’s activities in the Rhine-Neckar region, which were the origins of InnovationLab. Bernhard is a member of the board of the Heinrich-Vetter-Forschungsinstitut e.V., and coordinator of the ‘Wissenschaftsbeirat’ (Scientific Counsel) of the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan region.
Innovation expert. Frank Mattes has more than 15 years’ experience of managing projects and innovation gained from working in medium-sized national consulting companies as well as The Boston Consulting Group. He worked at C-level for an IT and a professional services company. Frank’s blog and contact information can be found at www.open-innovators.com