The road from a simple garage to the top manufacturer is not as distant as it seems. Although it is bumpy and full of unexpected turns, but you have to drive it as fast and efficiently as possible, otherwise you will be caught up with your competition or even overtaken. This is the case of innovation in the technology sector, which has no mercy to poorly designed or badly managed projects. Let’s see what open innovation management is all about and how to approach it as a global player and how to approach it when you’re a start-up company.
Success in the technology sector is the Holy Grail of many young entrepreneurs who identify it with the successes of such brands as Apple or Amazon. However, it is not easy to exist and survive in these extremely dynamic conditions. Technology is governed by its own rules – innovation must be introduced quickly and efficiently. In addition, in the case of companies such as FIBARO, which are also involved in manufacturing, development of their own products and design of utility forms, it is also extremely important to have an appropriate scale of business, allowing to maintain R&D departments costs.
Innovation must go hand in hand with courage
The prerequisite for the survival of a technological start-up is, first of all, an appropriate rate of development. An innovative project must be quickly implemented on an appropriate scale. It requires courage and self-confidence, without which there can be no question of success. In turn, forward-looking thinking helps innovation to flow into wider waters and thus to establish effective competition on a larger scale. Another useful feature of a young innovator is the ability to correctly place his project in a wide context, without which it is difficult to talk about effective navigation to the target.
It is this set of features that has made it possible to transform the FIBARO brand from a garage project to a global leader in less than seven years since its inception. The attitude of its founder, Maciej Fiedler, played an extremely important role here, as he implemented his vision from the very beginning without complexes and with the appropriate momentum. His attitude, belief in success and appropriate business decisions allowed the company to leave the garage and become a global player, despite the rough competition among the largest brands of the technology market.
Allow the innovation to sprout
Over time, FIBARO has changed its approach to innovation management, although the spirit of startup innovation has remained alive in the company. Now innovation is managed here in the open innovation model, which is aimed at increasing the chances of its effective implementation and better commercialisation of patents.
Although FIBARO owns and develops its own Research & Development department, it is also open to external innovation, combining high competence in the development and implementation of projects in the IoT area with flexibility and openness in the search for external innovations. It is rare for a Polish technology company to have a specialized company dedicated exclusively to the management and marketing of patents, as well as to the acquisition of innovation outside the company.
The idea of open innovation was born in the 1960s of the last century at the University of California in Berkeley. According to this concept, enterprises should acquire knowledge and innovations in cooperation with external entities, and not only through the work of their own research and development departments. Such a model gives tech companies a much better chance of success in implementing innovations than in the case of relying solely on their own resources. Practice of this kind is used by the majority of mature players from the technological market, who base their activity mainly on the innovativeness of their products and solutions.
At FIBARO, the concept of open innovation is implemented through its subsidiary – Fibar Group Intellectual Property Assets – whose task is to manage all of the intellectual property developed by FIBARO and to obtain innovative solutions from the IoT sector in various models of cooperation.
Benefits of being open to innovation
The unquestionable advantage of using the open innovation model is a significant reduction in the time needed to implement innovations. Large companies and organisations usually have extensive structures and procedures that can effectively inhibit new ideas. Technology companies, on the other hand, are struggling with time and cannot afford any delays. In addition, innovative projects in the initial phase also require rapid changes, constant adjustments of the exchange rate and adjustment of business requirements to the constantly changing market reality.
Flexibility is not an usual corporate strength. It is much better handled by small players and start-ups, whose decision-making processes are much shorter. It is even better when both concepts are combined and both perspectives are approached, taking the best characteristics of each of them into account, as was the case with FIBARO.
Open innovation also means a significant reduction in business risks. Although FIBARO statistics say that projects that are in development phase and being developed by R&D department are successful, from the company’s point of view it is important to ensure a constant flow of fresh and creative ideas from outside, which may turn out to be a hit.
Innovation acquistion models
Open innovation also means more available business models to generate competitive advantage through wider collaboration with international business and research communities. Networking and crowdsourcing are widely used here and allow for a much better exchange of know-how between the organization and the outside world. On the other hand, cooperation with research centres of universities enables the use of specific research methods and professional laboratories, as well as reaching academic circles, which often conduct their own research projects.
Open Innovation is also a gateway to strategic cooperation between R&D departments of other manufacturers. FIBARO operates in this area with the largest brands i.e. in the construction industry, automotive or IT. Another widely used model of cooperation in the technology sector is the creation and management of independent spin-off companies to help incubate and commercialise technology innovations.
What innovations is FIBARO looking for?
Fibar Group Intellectual Property Assets is mainly looking for solutions dedicated to the IoT industry. However, this category includes a large number of products, phenomena and solutions. It is therefore worth mentioning a few basic areas, which are located on the sight of the Poznan manufacturer.
It’s primarily a hardware area for smart home and intelligent building, as well as for smart cities. In addition to infrastructure and real estate, IoT also addresses issues related to telemedicine, smart health networks and digital wearable products. – FIBARO is also interested in innovative mobile software, voice biometrics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and security solutions for cyberspace and Big Data.