Serendipity and Innovation

Many innovations are related to chance, a set of fortuitous conditions (happy or unhappy). However, chance is not enough. Knowledge and experience are necessary to transform the set of conditions into innovation. This is the concept behind the word “serendipity”. This Article introduces the concept and places it in the context of innovation and open innovation. Serendipity Definition “Serendipity is the ability of making accidental but fortuitous discoveries, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated.” The English word “Serendipity” is recognized to be very difficult to translate and the English word has been adopted in many languages. There are two notions behind the word: chance (set of fortuitous conditions) together with a form of gift (or ability) allowing a person

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Open Innovation : Obama vs Sarkozy

In August 2009 White House sent a memorandum to the executives of various research agencies and departments regarding Science and Technology priorities for 2011 budget. The memorandum explains the prioritization regarding science and technology activities and emphasize the importance to increase the productivity of the research institutes and universities. “Agency budget submissions should also explain how the agency plans to take advantage of today’s open innovation model – in which the whole chain from research to application does not have to take place within a single lab, agency or firm – and become highly open to ideas from many players, at all stages.” Along the same line, the French Ministery of Higher Education and Research announced in the “29 propositions

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Interview with Frédérique Sachwald

Frederique Sachwald, Ph.D. in economics, graduated from IEP Paris and University of Cambridge. Frederique Sachwald is Head of the Business R&D Department, Ministry of Higher Education and Research in France. She is the author of several reports on the open innovation. What is your definition of Open Innovation? I define Open Innovation as compared to its opposite: Closed Innovation. Within the Closed Innovation paradigm, the R&D department is a fortress. All ideas are generated internally and remain inside until a new product reaches the market. In the Open Innovation paradigm, a company does not only rely on its internal resources (outside-in). In this approach, the company organizes and systematizes its openness towards the outside (Research partnership etc..) What are the indicators

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Open Innovation, crowdsourcing and the rebirth of LEGO

There are 62 LEGO bricks per person in the world. The turnover of the Danish group has increased by 38% in 2008 to reach 182 million Euros. However, LEGO, having experienced the first loss in its history in 1998, recorded a historic loss of 188 million Euros in 2003, fewer than 6 years. The LEGO group has managed to rectify the situation by dramatically revisiting its innovation policy and its relationship with the user of LEGO, including turning to open innovation and crowdsourcing. Change of brick, change of CEO In the 1990s, when children became more and more interested in video games, computers etc., LEGO passed exceptionally close to bankruptcy. It was then that LEGO recruited Jorgen Vig Knudstorp as

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