OI-Net objectives

The Academic Network for Open Innovation (OI-Net) is designed to facilitate European cooperation on open innovation by outlining and exchanging up-to-date concepts, and good practices in open innovation and open innovation education.

As emphasized in the presentation of the initial situation, mainly so far [as of early 2013] some curricula on Innovation Management do exist. However, they do not deal properly with open innovation (only a very few HEIs added some modules or even courses related to open innovation as such). Based on the convergence of the analysis by the various practitioners and research networks, the need to include OI as a full teaching discipline has to be fulfilled to meet the job market needs for skilled employees and therefore to increase the competitiveness of the European enterprises. This problem is especially critical to the SMEs which cannot afford big innovation management teams with specialised skills and which need the specialists who have a holistic understanding of open innovation processes and activities.

Initial situation

As of begining 2013, the situation/state of the art of Open Innovation and Education and Training has been as follow.

Open innovation concept has been a part of Innovation Management and Global Innovation Management research for already many years, and now it is being integrated in teaching (however rather inconsistently). Since its introduction, OI has become one of the most attractive topics in innovation research – many companies selected to follow this paradigm in their daily business processes, which is not always easy. Researching the challenges of open innovation implementation in companies, researchers observed that distinctively new skill- and mindsets are required in order to reach success in open innovation. This rising market need for OI way of thinking has created a demand for open innovation as a teaching discipline of its own.

OI-Net rationale

The European Union's Economy and Employment Growth is directly linked to the shift to an innovation and knowledge-based economy. Modern innovation processes require much faster reaction than ever before - organizations require the skilled labour to face the challenges of modern innovation-driven economies. It also creates certain challenges for universities who need to increase collaboration between each other as well as with other industry players in order to provide the market with the skilled graduates answering modern requirements.

About OI-Net and main achievements

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.