In February the Business and Industry Section and the Reading Local Group ran a joint event titled: Statistics in open innovation (OI).
Trevor Duguid Farrant of the RSS Business and Industrial section introduced three speakers from different backgrounds talking about very different aspects of open innovation. Although the speakers had never met, nor discussed content beforehand the talks complemented each other, without repetition, to give an excellent overview.
Dr Miles Eddowes, associate director of open innovation at Mondelēz International, began with open innovation and the 'call for wellbeing'. He reviewed a selection of case studies demonstrating how critical it is to match the choice of partner and the type of relationship for each unique innovation project. Mondelēz International’s strategy for mindful snacking and sustainable resources highlighted a number of areas where further innovation is required in the way the company innovates. He said that: 'intellectual property is both our competitive edge and the currency of our relationships,' adding that there are many opportunities available for collaboration throughout the world with this large multinational company.
Professor Giuliana Battisti of Warwick Business School then gave a talk on open modes of innovation and international evidence on the use of external collaborations. She focused on analyses and conclusions drawn from European and world studies on innovation. By using largescale empirical evidence, the extent of openness across developed and developing economies has been explored. Special emphasis was placed on the performance of innovation leaders and innovation followers and use of a substitution effect with respect to traditional R&D and patents. OI is a worldwide phenomenon with similar patterns across developed and developing economies. The intensity is highest in the low income countries which may be part of a strategy to share innovation by imitation, analogous to that found for followers in developed economies.
Professor Benjamin Whalley, neuropharmacology and director of the Research School of Chemistry, Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading, completed the evening with a talk, 'Developing effective partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry: an academic’s experience'. Ben was employed in industry for many years before transferring into the academic arena and he described opportunities and challenges that face academics and industry when they consider the benefits and risks associated with such partnerships. He said OI was 'innovating with partners by sharing risk and sharing reward.' Ben focused on two major research projects: developing a 3D, stem cell based functional neuronal network assay for toxicology and seizure genic testing of new drugs; and the development of a cannabis-based medicine for treatment resistant paediatric epilepsies.