Collaboration and open innovation in SMEs

Open innovation is when companies involve their customers and external partners in their innovation process in order to generate new ideas, improve products or identify new sales avenues. Back in 2013, Fraunhofer IAO conducted a study entitled “Managing Open Innovation in Large Firms” in which it assessed how large companies approach the topic of open innovation and to what extent they involve third parties in their development processes. The results indicated that 78 percent of large companies in Europe and the United States already use open innovation, and that this number is on the rise. But how does this compare with the situation at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

Are SMEs ready for open innovation?

This is precisely what Fraunhofer IAO wants to find out. Following up on the original study, it plans to analyze how SMEs in Germany use collaboration and open innovation and to look at the most popular methods and approaches. What are the opportunities and success stories, obstacles and problems? Where do SMEs need help? Are companies satisfied with their attempts so far to tap the potential of open innovation?

Online survey of R&D managers

To get answers to these questions, an online survey is being launched. It is aimed primarily at R&D and innovation managers as well as executives. Participants have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the Fraunhofer IAO scientists, who can provide tailored advice on how they can use open innovation at their company. What’s more, they benefit from an assessment of how their company compares with others that use collaborative and open innovation approaches. Participants also receive the full study free of charge.

All managers who have experience in R&D collaboration and want to learn about the challenges and the most promising approaches are invited to participate. The survey takes around 30-45 minutes to complete and can be found at until June 30, 2016.

Other content in...