The global macroeconomic situation, globalization, competitiveness and the speed at which the market is taking over are some of the challenges that companies are facing to uptake their businesses. The increasing awareness on the environmental degradation caused by the current production and consumption practices is becoming also a pressing problem that they have to deal with.
Thus, innovation is one of the main tools available that companies could use to face and solve these challenges and ensure successful businesses. Traditionally, companies used to rely on their internal research and innovation departments but they have started acknowledging that there are many bright professionals and greater knowledge outside the organization that enrich their business models.
One of the main objectives of the SwitchMed programme is to stimulate the demand for sustainable products and services from both companies and public entities. A way of fostering this demand is through the promotion of open innovation as a way of supporting organizations to incorporate new approaches and solutions in their business models.
Open Innovation is about taking the concept of innovation beyond the internal limits of the organization itself, so that cooperation with external professionals plays a fundamental role in the innovative strategy of the organization.
A path to attracting external innovations is corporate venturing, which is a new model of innovation that combines the research actions of organizations with the proposals and solutions offered by entrepreneurs and start-ups. Through this model, companies and public entities can attract and adopt external innovations that improve their value propositions and services while supporting the development of these solutions.
What are the benefits of corporate venturing?
– Corporations: large corporations that have been stuck in antiquated, traditional hierarchies may find it difficult to move as quickly as the market demands, and many see investing in smaller, more agile businesses, as the way for them to leverage new thought to grow into new, more exciting markets –meeting the demands of their changing customer base.
With corporate venturing strategically and financially driven objectives, these companies can maintain their position as market leaders.
– Start-ups/entrepreneurs: the company may provide the start-up with management and marketing expertise, strategic direction, and/or a line of credit. A start-up firm can benefit from the large investing company’s industry expertise, prestigious name brand, stable financial standing, network of connections, and ecosystem of developed products.
Smaller businesses may also receive a cash injection giving them the equity they need to further build their strategy.
How is open innovation promoted by SCP/RAC through SwitchMed?
In order to enable the matching between the seekers of solutions and entrepreneurs, the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) is developing a methodological framework on impact-driven open innovation. This methodology will be addressed to innovation agents from project countries to support them in their pathway to promote circular open innovation.
In parallel, SCP/RAC is also developing an online platform facilitating the matchmaking between the seekers of solutions and solvers, concentrating all the services offered to both companies and entrepreneurs and sharing knowledge and stories.
These two actions will be the starting point of a series of pilot actions implemented by SCP/RAC through the SwitchMed programme in the target countries to transfer the methodology to innovation agents which at their turn, address the demand from companies for sustainable solutions based on entrepreneurs and start-ups solutions. Demonstration activities will be carried out to promote the implementation of policies and actions on the ground, which effectively change patterns of consumption and production and implement circular economy measures in the priority sectors previously selected by the target countries.
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