EIT Climate-KIC launches new Open Innovation White Paper

Open Innovation in the form of for example case competitions, open innovation calls or hackathons have in the past decade or two become a favourite tool for organisations seeking to address sustainability challenges and creating systems change – and there are good reasons for this.

From a value creation perspective, open innovation often pays off on several accounts if done well: it creates new and innovate solutions to real world problems, it brings together organisations and individuals in a working relationship and thus strengthens the innovation ecosystem around the challenge, and it is relatively cheap compared to other options for seeking innovation and solutions.

But it also has its pitfalls. Quite a few organisations have ended up being disappointed after an open innovation process. A new case-based whitepaper made for EIT Climate-KIC by the University of Copenhagen and Nordic Sustainability shows that getting open innovation right takes insights and experience – and it offers advice for organisations that hope to use an open innovation process to address some of the complex challenges many businesses, cities and countries face.


Since 2015, EIT Climate-KIC has been promoting, developing and co-organising Open Innovation calls with city administrations around the world. This work is supporting EIT Climate-KIC’s mission to catalyse systemic change through innovation in areas of human activity that have a critical impact on greenhouse gas emissions – cities, materials and finance – and to create climate-resilient communities.

Catalysing systemic change through innovation means connecting a supply of innovation with demand-side actors: problem-owners and those with high ambition for change.

EIT Climate-KIC has therefore chosen to position itself as an orchestrated innovation ecosystem that connects ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ in catalysing transformational systemic change, one that brings together public and private actors – businesses and states, individuals and cities.

This second Open Innovation white paper is created in collaboration with Professor Marcel Bogers and Mrs. Maral Mahdad from the Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen, and narrated and edited by Mr. Morten Jastrup, managing partner in the sustainable strategy consultant company Nordic Sustainability. The paper includes showcases of seven concrete Open Innovation cases from cities across the globe including Copenhagen, Hamilton, Sofia, Malmö, Singapore and Trondheim. Having now achieved proof of concept for city-led Open Innovation, our objective is to spread our knowledge and learnings to other cities across the EU and beyond.

Solutions to meeting sustainability goals and targets

The seven cases each show an example of how city-led Open Innovation can be utilised to assist cities in meeting ambitious sustainability goals and targets. As a framework for sourcing and co-developing solutions, city-led Open Innovation can achieve results both in the short and the longer term. In the short term, one can expect to source relevant solutions more efficiently than with more traditional “closed” methods as the city’s needs are broadcast to a much wider audience of solution providers.

In order for a facilitator to both overcome the barriers to successful Open Innovation practices and maximize the value of its practice, it is important that one is completely in control of proceedings. Particularly, it is important to bear in mind that:

  • Stakeholders need to be kept motivated.
  • A varied stakeholder consortium often produces the best results.
  • Traditional stakeholder roles become blurred.
  • Match-makers help a lot toward implementation
  • Clustering and post-event follow up is very beneficial.

In the longer term, city-led Open Innovation can help facilitate several co-benefits including blue-green growth, and the enhancement of cities’ innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurial sectors. By engaging start-ups and other actors often poorly represented in traditional processes, a city can, in effect, nurture its budding entrepreneurial/start-up ecosystem.

By actively adopting the concept of Open Innovation into cities’ business models, we believe that city administrations can simultaneously improve their sustainable innovation process, achieve valuable co-benefits and create blue-green economic growth.

We hope this second Open Innovation white paper will inspire, create debate and stimulate additional climate innovation and will support transformation, in time.

Read the White Paper here 

Or read the original article 



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