Change. Dynamic. New. Creative. Inventive. These are just few of the words we think of when we hear the word “innovation.” Furthermore, most people would think invention and innovation are identical. However, this just isn’t the case. What exactly is innovation and how does this differ from an invention? As student, Alexandra Mezouari, puts it, “The main difference between innovation and invention is that invention is a product but innovation is the way you market that product.”

Invention and innovation works hand in hand. They are everywhere. Invention can take places anywhere and anytime, but innovation takes time and organization. You can always create something new, but what are you going to do with it? Do you have the passions to take it further? Innovation is more than having a new product or new process, it is an attempt to carry it out into practice and put it into the market. Inventions are the facilitators; innovations are the enablers.


On May 2014, The Wall Street Journal released an article announcing that “IBM partners with universities on Watson projects.” The article states that IBM’s famous cognitive computing system is being offered to seven of the country’s top computer science universities – with Berkeley being one of them. This partnership between IBM and Berkeley will allow Berkeley’s technical and business students access to the IBM cognitive computing applications and to develop them for a variety of industries ranging from health care to finance. This semester, our executive chief director, Solomon Darwin, is teaching a class that combines the elements of both open innovation and IBM Watson.

Professor Darwin teaches two UGBA courses this semester: UGBA 190T, Open Business Models & Open Innovation, and UGBA 198, Open Innovation Leveraging IBM Watson. UGBA 190T is a course that presents an opportunity for students to learn to employ the process of open innovation to address the business models of real companies, such as Coke, Wipro, United HealthCare, Johnson & Johnson, Fujitsu and GE. By the end of this course, the students should be able to demonstrate their solid understanding of the open innovation process, which includes exploring new business models and prospective markets in light of the changing economic landscape, social trends, and emerging technological advances.


UGBA 198 is a course for students who are eager to learn about the exciting IBM-Watson initiative undertaken by UC Berkeley. This course could be remarked to be one which builds off the open business models & open innovation class in that it focuses on enhancing open innovation through the application with IBM-Watson. This class compels its students to learn about and “change the world” with their access to Watson.

Open innovation allows students the opportunity to utilize information and knowledge to accelerate innovation, even if this information does not necessarily seem useful at first glance. It is more than novelty, it is about ways to renew or change that which could be better. This combination of creative thinking and general openness makes it possible to exchange ideas and encourages people to be innovative.Because innovation is critically emphasized in today’s world, this type of innovation is important and relevant. Therefore being able to utilize open innovation to advance business model is extremely valuable.

By Jullian Tu-Uyen Dang