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Open innovation: a guide

Helpsheets and support

Published: 05 Aug 2021 Update History

If your organisation is struggling with innovation, open innovation may help. So, what is it and how does it help?


Open innovation is about working with new partners in new ways. This guide starts by exploring the characteristics of innovation including incremental, radical and disruptive innovation. While these focus on the nature of the change being made, open innovation focuses on where ideas come from and how they are brought to market.

The guide then explores how to redraw organisational boundaries, using open challenges and innovation journeys before concluding with ideas on evaluation and sustaining an open innovation approach.

Each idea in the guide is accompanied by a practical example of putting the idea into action.

The guide was prepared by Chris Ford, academic, writer and entrepreneur. He is a Chartered Accountant, who set up his own adventure travel business before selling it and becoming a lecturer in Accounting and Management at Lancaster University. Chris is a Cabinet Office Policy Fellow, Academic Advisor to the Institute for Outdoor Learning and Academic board member of ICAEW’s Business and Management Faculty. His research into the performance of platforms, ecosystems and open innovation led to a prestigious prize for Best Innovation Paper from the British Academy of Management in 2018

Related Resources

Open Innovation: A Guide

Business and Management faculty members can download this guide in full.