The next steps of open innovation in Brazil

Taís Farias

March 3, 2023 – 14:46 hours

The term open innovation was coined 20 years ago by Henry Chesbrough, professor and executive director of the Center for Open Innovation at UC Berkeley. At that time, he wrote Open Innovation: How to Create and Profit from Technology.

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In practice, open innovation decentralizes the company’s innovative thinking, bringing other actors to collaborate and think about solutions to market problems. Open innovation also encourages a culture of testing that shortens development time.

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Between 2016 and 2020, the number of companies connected to startups through open innovation initiatives grew almost 20-fold, according to data from the 100 Open Startups platform. The number of companies working with this modality was 82 in 2016 and jumped to 1635 in 2020.

The sectors that invested the most in partnerships with startups are financial services; food and drink; retail, trade and distribution services; energy and professional and commercial services.

Challenges of open innovation

“Brazil’s innovation ecosystem has grown rapidly in recent years and is increasingly diverse. However, compared to other countries, it is still on the growth path,” explains Carolina Falcoski, Open Innovation Manager at Nestlé Brazil.


Open innovation: relevance in the creation of products and services

In order to check at this stage, the executives say that it was necessary to overcome a number of obstacles of the corporate culture and to overcome the lack of institutional articulation mechanisms and specific laws.

“Because it’s an evolving journey, some corporate processes still don’t have the necessary dynamics to manage open innovation,” analyzes Falcoski. She adds: “Ignorance and even mistrust about the potential of collaboration in innovation are also barriers they often face.”

What are the next steps?

For Bruno Rondani, CEO of 100 Open Startups, companies that have already experimented with open innovation have managed to create strong cores for innovation practice. However, it is necessary to develop leadership and overcome corporate limitations.

“There is a lot of work to be done in training two-way leaders. Managers and teams capable of dealing with the uncertainties, complexities and paradoxes required by innovation management,” emphasizes the CEO of 100 Open Startups.


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He also advises companies that want to start an open innovation program. “Two basic recommendations: looking inward, training and creating a culture open to innovation, and looking outward, encouraging and collaborating with the development of the ecosystem itself. Attempting open innovation without changing management paradigms is impossible,” he describes.

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