Open Innovation – How It Can Affect the Future of the Cleantech Industry

The next time you’re sitting in your office, trying to think of how you’re going to bring your newest cleantech innovation to life, you’ll probably wish that you had a team of experts to help.

Luckily, that’s exactly what Open Innovation does!

Open Innovation is a term coined by Henry Chesbrough, a professor and executive director at the University of California, Berkeley. It refers to the idea that you can use internal and external ideas to advance your technology – meaning that you can use experts and tools both inside of your company and outside of it to create new products and services. Open Innovation is increasingly being used across a number of different industries, but it can be especially beneficial to the cleantech industry.

How would it work?

Think about what kind of cleantech innovation is already happening… New ideas and products are popping up in all corners of the globe – from the U.S., to China, to Germany, to the U.K., to Israel. Whether it’s wind, water, or solar-related, cleantech innovation is happening very quickly – which is why it has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry.

But just imagine what would happen if all of these companies teamed up and lent their expertise to each other as part of a “cleantech network”. The rate of cleantech innovation would be off the charts!

If you apply the idea of Open Innovation to the cleantech network, you could link big and small companies with research experts, investors, and anyone else that could help advance the industry. They could share ideas and outsource work to one another. If for example, you own a company that focuses on cleantech innovation through solar power, you might not know how to move forward with a wind-based project. A cleantech network could help you get started!

Right now, there is a cleantech network to some extent, but it is largely divided by region. As a result, the cleantech network that exists today doesn’t even technically follow the Open Innovation premise. With the power of the world wide web, that’s simply unacceptable!

By establishing a global cleantech network, it would be easier to find investors, figure out how to move forward with research, and come up with never-before-seen cleantech innovation. And, everything could be done right through the internet!