The First-Mover Advantage of Open Innovation

Companies that make a strategic choice to become the “first mover” on open innovation in their industry will find that implementing it is hard, but it will often result in a leadership position that is hard to copy. The same applies to suppliers who decide to become the preferred partner of choice within the given industry, according to Stefan Lindegaard.

While many companies are dabbling in open innovation, few have made a decision to fully embrace it strategically, according to Stefan Lindegaard. Most companies are still approaching it as an event-driven tactic, rather than a process or competency that pervades its operations. This means that the first-mover advantage may still exist in many industries. Recent open innovation developments in the automotive and med-tech industries appear to support this theory.

Lindegaard believes that a 6, 12 or 18 month headstart is crucial, because this gives even more time for the first mover to become the preferred partner of choice. This is a position that is easier to defend once captured than trying to get to it in the first place.

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