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Dynamic leaders gathered at the 10th anniversary of the Berkeley Innovation Forum to discuss the past, present, and future of Open Innovation. This inspiring 2 day event welcomed old and new companies alike including: Paradigm Mtuity, Visa, IBM, Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Toyota, Fujitsu, and many others (see full membership list here).


Douglas Atkin, Airbnb’s Global Head of Community, fired up the pre-conference event with his presentation on how Open Innovation works in a sharing economy. The power of community brings transformational change. Atkin spoke about how Airbnb’s community platform applies Open Innovation through sharing practices and ideas, thus the reason their business model is successful.


Professor Henry Chesbrough introduced the second portion of the conference, which was dedicated to celebrating past lessons, agonies, and ecstasies. Robert Miller, Director of Innovation at Nestlé Purina PetCare and a founding member of BIF, connected the relationship between innovation and brand loyalty. Brand loyalty may drive success, but it is how the consumer perceives the company that matters. Exploring new alternatives to business models is crucial to keeping companies relevant to consumers. Panelists from IBM, GE, The Coca-Cola Company, and Goodyear shared stories on how Open Innovation has helped their companies become successful. Each company has a different solution to break their barrier towards Open Innovation. Their role is to bridge the outside culture with the inside world and culture. Manjula Talreja, Vice President of Cisco, spoke about present and emerging trends in Open Innovation business models. She shared her company’s experience of using Open Innovation to build a human ecosystem, and how speed to market is more important than ever.


Wayne Morris, Innovation Director at SAP AG, also spoke about past successes and failures of intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurship gives entrepreneurship a twist by empowering employees from the bottom up. When executed well, it gives employees a chance to share transformational ideas and speed the company along in competitive markets. Morris used his own company as an example and discussed how such programs have impacted corporate culture.


What does the future of Open Innovation look like? John Hagel, Director of Deloitte Consulting LLP, tackled this topic by focusing on the creation of future business models. Hagel encapsulated how consistency and routines in companies can make them more resistant to change while ‘Institutional Innovation’ can re-scale knowledge and help companies creatively move forward. Panelists from IBM, Cisco, EMC, and Fujitsu also examined the future of Open Innovation by discussing how their companies use value-driven business models, an “open mindset,” and effective communication with customers.


The 10th anniversary of the Berkeley Innovation Forum demonstrated that journies of Open Innovation are different for every company. In order to move forward, it is important to share challenging aspects, new ways of improving, and applying Open Innovation. The Berkeley Innovation Forum makes a strong impact as it gives powerful companies a safe space to share and learn from their past and present successes and failures while they brainstorm future ways of refining their business models to ultimately make it more open and innovative. Companies’ working together and sharing ideas is an essential centerpiece to drive Open Innovation (and their businesses) forward as well as keep their work relevant.



By Lorja Fogel