Intellectual Property in Open Innovation: A dangerous mix?
How can start-ups and large firms work together to bring ideas to market? What are the challenges of making this form of 'open innovation' work? The Cambridge Network's Special Interest Group on IP sought to address these issues at an event on 14th May organised in partnership with the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM). Supported by Unilever R&D, IfM is currently working with a community of 30 multinational companies to share good practice in making open innovation work.
The multinational corporation's perspective was given by Mike Addison from the Business Development team at P&G. His talk presented some of the key lessons that P&G have learned through numerous open innovation projects. A key point he stressed as that "open innovation forces firms to do things very well". For smaller firms, he noted that successful collaboration relies upon having a clear plan to extract value from IP, approaching a large firm at the right time, and being realistic about your chances of getting to, and the time it will take to get to a deal.
The start-up's perspective was given by Tony Hooley of 1 Ltd. He shared the substantial learning that had taken place as 1 Ltd had built IP-based partnerships with universities and multinational firms. He echoed many of the views presented by Mike Addison, and stressed the importance of realising that the more work that can be done in getting an idea close to market, the more likely it will be to form a mutually beneficial IP-based deal with a large firm.
Following on from this event, IfM and the Cambridge Network are planning to run a more detailed training event on setting up and managing successful partnerships between start-ups and large firms.