The concept of "open innovation" is not new, and you are certainly familiar with it. Open innovation has become a new paradigm for organizing innovation, and is increasingly sought after by both large companies and startups. The first, in an attempt to solve gaps in their business, and the second, looking for opportunities, recognition and new customers.
Let's rewind a little in time to 2003, when Chesbrough introduced this concept in his book Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. In this, open innovation assumes that companies could and should use external and internal ideas to advance their innovations and create value.
There are 2 types of open innovation:
i) from the outside in;
ii) from the inside out.
The outside-in involves opening a corporation to various outside contributions - including those of startups. It’s this type of open innovation that has received the most attention, and this is what we focus on today. In fact, looking for external innovation can be a big advantage for large companies, because startups often see challenges from an entirely different perspective and offer disruptive and innovative ways to respond to those challenges.
In December, we held the "EIT Food Challenge Labs" program in partnership with the Super Bock Group. This program culminated in an event at the Super Bock Beer House in Porto, in which the candidate startups presented their solutions capable of reducing the ecological footprint of the company's value chain.
At stake were potential partnerships, access to expert mentoring and a €2,000 prize for the #1 winner!
What was the challenge?
As part of its performance and social responsibility, the Super Bock Group challenged our startups to offer innovative and quick-to-implement solutions that respond to one of the 3 objectives below:
The winning startups
If you follow us on social media, you've probably followed the final event, which took place on December 15th. The event consisted of presentations by experts, the hosts, startup pitches, a visit to the factory, and even a beer tasting!
In the end, there were 3 big winners who will collaborate with the Portuguese beer company in 2022! You can find them below:
1. Shimejito, winner of the € 2,000 prize
Shimejito is a startup operating in Portugal that works with an economic model based on decentralization and a circular economy. Supported by Biotechnology for organic food, they work with Precision Agriculture and research into agricultural innovation. As a result, they are capable of producing biological mushrooms, in addition to soil additives. They also allow anyone to have their own Urban Farm to produce mushrooms with the latest technology and positively impact local communities through agriculture.
WETRACK develops and implements hardware and software adaptable to any industry, in order to meet a need that currently exists in companies with a strong productive character, for data collection and control of the means of production.
By collecting data from any type of machine for a disruptive IOT web platform, this data is collected and converted into accessible, reliable and quantified information to catalyze the decision-making process.
Matter is a Portuguese startup that has been dedicating itself to the development of contemporary design objects from composite materials from Portuguese agro-industrial by-products. Rice husks, coffee grounds, tomato resealing, olive and grape pomace are some of the materials to be used.
We believe that open innovation can be the way forward, especially in a pandemic context, and has the potential to widen the space for value creation. Companies like NASA, Nike and Novartis have proven that lower in-house R&D spending can be complemented with a networked approach to innovation.
Stay tuned for the open innovation programs coming in 2022 at BGI!