Henry Chesbrough, who coined the term “open innovation,” is educational director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation at Berkeley Haas. His research focuses on technology management and innovation strategy. He also teaches at Esade Business School at Spain’s University Ramon Llull. He has been an adjunct professor at the Harvard Business School and previously served as product manager and vice president of marketing at Quantum Corporation, a manufacturer of data storage devices and systems. He earned a BA in economics from Yale University, an MBA from Stanford University, and a PhD in business administration from Berkeley Haas.
Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external and internal ideas and paths to market to advance their technology. The central idea behind open innovation is that—in a world of widely distributed knowledge where the boundaries between a firm and its environment have become more permeable—companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research but should instead buy or license processes or inventions from other companies. In addition, internal inventions not being used in a firm’s business should be taken outside the company (e.g., through licensing, joint ventures, spin-offs).