New guide for innovation partnerships

Posted on 1 Dec 2010 by The Manufacturer

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) at the University of Cambridge has produced a new report to help businesses select effective partners for collaborative Open Innovation (OI).

OI involves working with external business partners to develop new products and access new technology but many businesses lack the necessary capabilities to engage in such a project and, thus, seek ‘innovation intermediaries’, which include commercial and technical consultancies, government departments and academic networks.

IfM has conducted a year-long study involving BP, GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, EPSRC and NESTA and has now produced a report “Getting Help With Open Innovation” which offers tips for and examples of a structured approach to selecting the most appropriate intermediary for a particular company’s needs.

Dr Letizia Mortara, of the IfM’s Centre for Technology Management (CTM), says: “Our research had identified a clear desire for a structured method of selecting innovation intermediaries. This came from the intermediaries themselves and the companies which used their services.

“Intermediaries vary considerably in terms of the capabilities they offer their clients. The report equips companies with the right questions to ask in order to be able to assess whether a particular organisation is right for them.

“In turn the report also helps intermediaries to clearly state what their services consist of and to clarify their offering for clients.”

The research drew on interviews with more than 100 organisations, both intermediaries and users of intermediary services.

The report also includes a directory of more than 100 innovation intermediaries.

For a copy of the report email Rob Halden-Pratt at [email protected].