Home » Open Innovation

Top 5 Open Innovation Countries

by Stefan Lindegaard
April 1, 20114/1/11 26 Comments

Last September I posted a list of companies that do well on open innovation and now it is time for an update. Here comes a list of countries that in my view do well.

1. United States. No surprise here. This is where it happens. We have the companies, intermediaries/service providers, top academics and all the best conferences. There are simply too many to mention here.

2. The United Kingdom. This is primarily driven by the work done by 100% Open, a consultancy that also offer interesting workshops and events and the IfM institute in Cambridge for their research and events. Among other UK companies I like Psion which is gaining traction with their Ingenuity Working community and  O2, which recently shared some initiatives that although they had some internal focus also revealed a proper mindset for open innovation. I can also mention Paul Sloane, the editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing: Advice From Leading Experts.

3. Germany. I met several innovation leaders from German companies at a recent conference in Berlin and I sensed that many are really starting to get open innovation. Germany also seems to be the place in Europe with the most relevant conferences and events although several of those are in Germany language only. They also have several service providers including Hype Innovation, which does a good job on educating their customers and the community.

4. The Netherlands. I have had the opportunity to engage with several Dutch companies including Philips, which I believe can turn into a great case on open innovation in the near future. Other interesting companies include AkzoNobel, DSM and Unilever. The Netherlands also has several workshops and events on open innovation.

5. Not decided yet. I did not have much trouble with the top 4 countries, but then it got more difficult. I just don’t see other countries that can be singled out as I could with the above countries. I will leave this slot open and have you help decide which country we should add here. Please drop a comment on which country you choose and why.

One question I continue to ask myself is: Where are they Nordic countries? They do well on innovation in general, but they just seem to miss out on open innovation. I hope we will soon see more activity in the Nordic region – and elsewhere of course.

Should your country have been on the list? Drop a comment and “vote” for the fifth spot…

Currently there are "26 comments" on this Article:

  1. Completely agree with this list! I might be tempted to put France in at number 5? It's interesting the these countries are the low-growth ones at the moment. I am not implying that open innovation slows growth (!) but that it's a strategy when you need growth.

  2. infosourcer says:

    I would like to nominate Australia- at least when it comes to my company, the Australian firm is doing some great things and here are some links to official innovation government and non-profits Down Under:

  3. Bricão says:

    There's no BRIC countries in the list?!?

    • Stefan Lindegaard says:

      No. There is not much noticeable open innovation activity in these countries. At least, not yet. I think we will see some interesting things in Brazil where Fiat recently launched the first crowd-sourced car and India also have some open source activities that kind of resembles open innovation. I see nothing in Russia and China has to mature on innovation. They will come.

  4. Stefan Lindegaard says:

    Hi Suzy, you do have interesting innovation initiatives and people in Australia, but we do not hear much on open innovation. Hopefully, we will see this in the coming years. I would be happy to help on this if possible / relevant 🙂

  5. Michelle says:

    Are these countries listed as innovative because they have innovated? or because they have acquired, invested in technologies from somewhere else. Second point, innovation and commercialization are two different concepts, I would argue there is a discrepancy between country of innovation creation and commercialization.

    • Stefan Lindegaard says:

      Hi Michelle, in my view, these countries are the best places for open innovation to happen. The things you mention are highly related and I think you cannot really separate them. If you are very good at innovation, then you are also good at commercialization. If not, they you would not have much innovation to show off in the first place. This discussion is also about how we define innovation – a "dangerous" discussion as there are no clear answers 🙂

  6. Martin says:

    Hi Stephan, bluenove is currently conducting a survey about 'Open Innovation in France' and we got more than 120 answers from Top Franch Corporations … results should come out within the next few weeks … may some material to position France as number 5? 😉

    • Stefan Lindegaard says:

      Hi Martin, I look forward to hear more about your results from the survey. France has a good shot for the fifth spot 🙂

  7. ulises says:

    According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard, Denmark is among the most innovation leaders in Europe. One of the factors evaluated to define this position (and more related to Open Innovation) is:
    – innovating SME's collaborating with others (highly above Germany and slightly below UK) http://www.proinno-europe.eu/inno-metrics/page/de
    NOTE: I think this indicators should include more of them related to Open Innovation.

    • Stefan Lindegaard says:

      Denmark is a very innovative country. However, there are very few open innovation initiatives in Denmark. I see two main reason for this. One is that some tend to confuse user-driven innovation with open innovation – Denmark is quite good on user-driven innovation. User-driven innovation is different as it happens only in the front-end where as open innovation happens throughout the innovation process. Another reason is that Danes are very good at collaboration – once they get to know their partners. Many Danes – if not most – are quite exclusive and it is difficult getting to know each Danes and to be invited into the inner circles. This is a corporate as well as a societal issue. Sorry to say that Denmark is not the open country it used to be. Open innovation is very much about collaboration, but you have to act fast in the current business environment. You cannot be secretive and play wait-and-see games. This hurts Denmark and it is a key reason that Danish companies have not yet embraced open innovation.

  8. Rich McDonnell says:

    Hello Stefan,
    Perhaps another way to identify #5, or the potential trajectory for the adoption of Open Innovation might start with the following comparison. First, the number of Local Patent Filings (per billion dollars of GDP) -Vs- International Patent Filings (per billion dollars of GDP) and a third aspect – the height of each conuntry's bar reflecting the percentage of its people involved in R&D. (Source: World of ideas, pg 22 – 23; http://www.technologyreview.com) Given the exhibit in the article, I think it is a race between: Finland and Sweden. While Israel, France, New Zealand, Italy, Canada, Singapore, Iceland, and Australia are all potential contenders.
    Secondly, In looking at the graphic I find it interesting that S.Korea and Japan far out pace all other countries for their number of Local & International Patents, as well as having a significant pool of reserachers….which would lead on to think that they would be near the top of the Open Innovation rankings. [So – why aren't they on our radar?]

    • Stefan Lindegaard says:

      Hi Rich, I do not believe patents is a good indicator for open innovation capabilities. Output is more important. If South Korea and Japan heads the patent race, this kind of underscores my belief 🙂

    • Fern says:

      Hi Rich
      I would concur with Stefan in that patenting is not a sound reflection of innovation, and especially innovation collaboration activity. In NZ the cost of patenting is prohibitive for the numerous SMEs that we have (and yes, every country has them but ours are particularly small and dominate the economy with few large firms evident other than Fonterra – who is very active in open innovation). Kiwis tend to just get on with it and hope for the best. I am constantly surprised by how much open innovation is occurring, we just don't talk about it, nor perform at a level that makes headlines. Thanks Stefan, this is a great discussion.

  9. Rich McDonnell says:

    Hi Stefan, I am not saying I believe patents to be a good indicator for Open Innovation. But rather the basic & applied scientific infrastructure required leading to the development of new products & technologies (including patent activity) could be a precursor of a country's potential for embracing Open Innovation. To which, all the countries mentioned on your list [leading the charge in Open Innovation] are more or less clustered together in the sweet spot of the graphic. Which leads me to think that Open Innovation is more likely to be embraced by more flexible and open cultures.

  10. Jan Futtrup says:

    Hi Stefan
    Great post / Discussion!

    Looking at it from a Danish angel – Why do you think that it is, that Denmark, a country that seems qualifyed in so many aspects (low powerdistance, flex security model of work, low Uncertenty awoidence index (Gert hoffstede), well educated, 99% internet, tech savy etc.) are not a part of the top 5 list?

    What is the missing link in respect to Denmark – Can you give me your perpective on a boildown: "The three things we could do better" to get Denmark into the TOP 5?

    Sincerely Jan http://www.socialsemantic.eu

  11. madis says:

    Nordics. Estonia

  12. BeJa says:

    Is open innovation the next thing in building business and the best way to be a succesfull innovative company?
    Feams et al 2010 (j.prod innov. manag 27) concludes that open-innovation an technology alliance is net cost-increasing.

    • Stefan Lindegaard says:

      Open innovation should only be just one element in an innovation process, but it is becoming more and more important as companies work to increase the external input.

  13. Cesar Tolentino says:

    Hi Stefan, I agree with your list and your comment that patents are not an indication of open innovation. Case in point is Singapore where a huge quantity of patents are made by Intellectual Property owners from other countries, simply because the regime of protecting IP ownership is one of the strongest in Singapore for the Asian region. In which case, I would say countries with the largest percentage of GDP that comes from IP-driven, knowledge-driven, or Creative industries should be on top of the list. No surprise to see US, UK and Germany in that list since they also lead the world in GDP contribution from these industries. If I were to assess who could be number 5, I'd say it was France.

  14. David Coates says:

    Regarding the position of the Uk, I would like to think that one of the contributing factors to the second position is the launch of _connect (https://ktn.innovateuk.org/web/guest)last year by the Technoloigy Strategy Board. This is a free-to-use open innovation platform with circa 30,000 people signed-up, originally designed for the Knowledge Transfer Network of networks but rapidly developing into a platform where any community involed in or wanting to play in the 'open innovation' space is encouraged to join. In the next few months we are launching a 'match-me' functionality that will help individuals with challenges in the innovation space find people, technology or other resources, to assist in addressing these challenge.

  15. Rob Walsh says:

    I think that link is broken – try http://www.innovateuk.org/connect

  16. S'hi says:

    I suspect more will come out of countries where George Soros has established his Open Society foundations.

  17. M.venkata kiran says:

    i hope INDIA will be holding 5th place .as there are great innovators and enterpruners in INDIA

  18. I think to rate a country for open innovation requires some kind of metrics. Here in South Africa we have started to measure open innovation activities as part of the innovation capability of a company. We are beginning to see some amazing results.However most companies are still in the early stages of open innovation.