Launch of the pioneering new Open Innovation Network

Kent Business School is proud to support the launch of a pioneering regional network bringing together people involved in developing innovation within their own organisation, leading practitioners and academics to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of Open Innovation.

Facilitated by Dr Marian Garcia, Reader in Marketing and David Williamson, Director of External Services at the Kent Business School, this exciting network has been designed for organisations – large and small – who are interested in developing innovation both internally and collaboratively with others.

Open Innovation, which is about thinking and valuing internal and external ideas in a complementary and synergetic way, is changing with many commentators predicting that it will be standard practice within a decade, and not just relevant to large corporate organisations but to all business sizes and sectors.

“Most companies simply apply the basic science of innovation. It is important that companies realise that products and services are increasingly more complex, and as a result they cannot sustain a go-it-alone strategy. Businesses need to think where to connect to get the piece of technology or knowledge that they are after. Sometimes you need to connect beyond your boundaries.”

Dr Marian Garcia, Reader in Marketing, Kent Business School

Open Innovation group

This informal, open and collaborative network focuses on the fundamentals of successful Open Innovation approaches, tools and techniques commonly used by organisations. Through academic and practitioner presentations, participants explored how to plan, negotiate and structure Open Innovation relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Lucinda Tolhurst, Principal Consultant at Oakland Innovation, was invited to stretch the boundaries of Open Innovation, looking at how intermediaries (such as consultants and agencies) can be used to bring in external perspectives to challenge, inspire and share learnings on how to move forward, through activities such as technology scouting, product or market opportunity landscaping or business model analysis.

The presentations were followed by  practical and facilitated exercises to allow participants to begin a network mapping process, stimulating thinking around the different types of networks that could benefit their organisation, as well as identifying potential partners and evaluating them. Network members considered how they could go connect with experts, professional groups and associations, leading commentators, and key forums.

This launch meeting allowed members to become acquainted and start developing their Open Innovation networks, facilitated by the transfer of academic and practitioner knowledge. A second network meeting will take place in the autumn of 2013 at the Medway Innovation Centre.

Should you be interested in exploring the topic of Open Innovation further, either by becoming a member of the network or participating in Dr Marian Garcia’s academic research on Open Innovation, please do contact us

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 20th November 2013 at 9:30am at Medway Innovation Centre.

The Kent Business School is a strong supporter of new initiatives such as the Open Innovation Network which have the capacity to create new means of building bridges and transferring knowledge between academia and industry.

For more information about other networking opportunities, such as our Business Executives Forum or our Business Improvement & Growth Network, please visit our website:

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