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On the face of it, the open approach to innovation seems pretty straightforward in its definition. Open innovation, according to Henry Chesbrough, who coined the term in his 2003 book "Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology," is a "paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology." In short, the best ideas don't necessarily reside within your four walls, and your great internal ideas may bring the best value to your company by reaching markets via external channels.
However, adopting an open innovation approach can present numerous challenges, including how to manage intellectual property and where to look for beneficial external partnerships. That said, there's no lack of tools to help manufacturers address that challenge. Numerous open innovation Web sites, service providers and events exist to help companies find success employing this business strategy, offering both sophisticated models of assistance and simple Web sites to post ideas.
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