NESTA Announces Top 100 Open Innovation Global Winners

Celebrating the power of collaborative working NESTA today announced the winners of Open 100, a competition to find global companies and organisations which excel at ‘open innovation’ and exploit the power of mass collaboration.

Open innovation is a growing trend among the private, public and third sector which allows new ideas, solutions and markets to be sourced from external partners, moving away from a reliance on traditional internal R&D. Open innovation strategies have become increasingly important as customers demand more service and product innovation at a faster speed, and where tough economic times require cheaper ways of developing new products and services.

A recent survey by NESTA in conjunction with HI Network found that in response to the downturn, FTSE 100 businesses were reviewing the cost and speed that traditional forms of innovation were generated. 57% of companies said they would increase their level of open innovation, compared to before the recession.

Open 100 invited people across the world to nominate companies who best reflected ‘openness’ in five categories. The nominations were considered by a judging panel consisting of Marc Surman, director of the Mozilla Foundation, Vic Keegan, technology correspondent at the Guardian, Andrew Gaule, founder of the H-I Network, Roland Harwood, director of Open Innovation at NESTA and David Simoes-Brown, head of Corporate Open Innovation at NESTA.

The categories and the winners are:

Open Innovation: Companies sourcing or placing innovations externally towards a mutual benefit. This promises higher quality, faster and cheaper innovation.

Winner: McLaren

Selected because they actively seek out and create new markets outside of their core business. For example, their current collaboration with the National Air Traffic Control Service uses an adapted version of McLaren’s predictive software to predict the airports’ detailed traffic movements two hours before they happen.

Crowdsourcing: Usually on the web as the benefit of leveraging both the diversity and wisdom of the crowd for new ideas, products and partners.

Winner: Cloudmade

Selected for its innovative business structure and multilayered approach to openness. Started by the founders of Open Street Map, it employs a Wikipedia style process for producing maps by tapping into thousand of contributors around the globe. Cloudmade build programming interfaces for this mapping data so developers can build smarter maps.

Co-creation: A hybrid approach valuing the wisdom of the crowd and the expertise of professionals.

Winner: WikiHow

Selected because it provides simple solutions to everyday problems by applying the wisdom of crowds and categorizing it into useful and freely accessible ‘how to’ manuals. In February 2010 it had 25 million visitors, making it a valuable advertising platform which forms its core revenue stream. WikiHow is a strong example of how a social enterprise model can develop global reach and make money by providing an open platform.

Open Source Software: Widespread collaboration and opening up intellectual property via the creative use of licensing strategies.

Winner: Open Office

Selected because it has become a worthy competitor to the dominating model for software ‘Windows’. It has achieved this by relying on community created software which demonstrates how Open Source can create consumer grade products.

Open Business: Developing a product or service for free and sharing it with a community whilst generating a revenue model.

Winner: Zopa

Selected for its innovative potential. Zopa provides a peer-to-peer lending platform where individuals can lend and borrow from each other without a bank acting as a middleman.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, Chief Executive of NESTA says,

‘Open Innovation is moving from the margins to the mainstream but it can be difficult to implement. The winners of the ‘Open 100’ competition have overcome deep rooted obstacles such as intellectual property laws and trust to remain at the forefront of innovation. ‘

NESTA has worked with a number of corporates including Proctor and Gamble, Virgin Atlantic, Orange and McLaren to test new approaches to successful collaboration with new partners including customers, staff, small businesses and other corporates. This work can be viewed by going to NESTA’s website.

The Open 100 winners’ announcement took place at NESTA’s Open for Business conference in London where over 100 senior executives responsible for innovation in large organisations discussed new approaches to collaborative working.

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