How to develop open innovation projects in companies?

100 Open Startups
6 min readMay 5, 2023


Open innovation projects can be the solution for companies that want to modernize their processes in an organic and efficient way.

Process innovation is a major need for modern companies . Even more so when we talk about an era of intense digital transformation like the one we live in today.

However, inserting this culture that is more open to creativity in workflows that are highly consolidated by traditional models can be a great challenge for the corporate world.

In this context, open innovation projects emerge as an accessible and sustainable option for any company to be able to renew its processes through collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

Combining the structure, resources and business experience already consolidated in the market with the creativity of young professionals, this partnership model manages to bring together the best of both worlds in favor of a more dynamic and up-to-date corporate culture.

We will talk more about this trend in this article . Come with us!

What are open innovation projects?

First, let’s explain in a little more detail how this business model works.

Open innovation projects are initiatives that provide collaboration between companies and third parties , usually startups, for the development of new ideas, technologies or products.

Promoting an exchange of ideas and a collaborative culture , this type of initiative is widely used by companies that want to bring process innovation to their daily lives.

These external actors can include customers, suppliers, universities and startups that can contribute knowledge, skills and resources to the project.

The idea behind open innovation is that companies can benefit from external ideas and expertise to develop faster and more efficiently than would be possible with internal resources and manpower alone.

By opening the doors to external collaboration, corporations can access new sources of ideas and talent, as well as having the opportunity to share and spread their own innovations with other market players.

There are many forms of open innovation projects , from open challenges and competitions for startups and universities to more structured collaboration programs.

The ultimate goal of open innovation projects is to create a collaborative environment that allows the exchange of knowledge and ideas in pursuit of the development of new creative solutions based on disruptive ideas.

This combination is very welcome in the modern market, as it manages to offer growth for both parties involved in the partnership.

On the one hand, corporations manage to integrate innovation in a much more organic and efficient way in their production chains. On the other hand, promising startups get access to resources and networking that can help in the development of the project.

This collaborative culture is fundamental for the modern market , which increasingly sees problem-solving as its main competitive advantage.

Therefore, open innovation projects are a great reflection of the new economy . The trend is for this business model to consolidate itself definitively in the market over the next few years.

How to develop open innovation projects in companies?

Of course, this process is far from simple. Promoting this type of partnership demands a great deal of research and planning on the part of corporations.

Developing open innovation projects in companies can be a challenge, but there are some steps that can help facilitate the process. Check out some suggestions below!

1. Define the goal

First, it is necessary to define the objective of the open innovation project . That is, this process involves identifying the areas in which the company needs to modernize and the challenges that need to be faced in order for the transformation to take place.

Once these goals and objectives have been defined, it’s time to determine what types of external partners would be most helpful and what results are expected.

Making the right choice is critical to success in this endeavor . For this, it is necessary to have a great knowledge, both about the internal processes of the company and the world of startups.

2. Identify interested parties

Next, you need to connect with potential external partners . This can include universities, startups, suppliers, customers or other companies that can contribute expertise and resources to the project.

More than just looking for startups with disruptive ideas , you need to find an option that fits your goals and makes sense in a medium and long-term collaboration plan.

3. Create a collaborative environment

Innovation projects mean a key change in a company’s business vision. That is, the changes go far beyond work processes.

The implementation of this culture involves creating an environment in which all participants can share ideas and knowledge.

The good news is that technologies such as online collaboration platforms facilitate communication and information sharing between different sectors of a company.

The intention is that exchanges are part of the routine. Experienced professionals and young professionals can have complementary views, which if worked together, can bring great insights to these corporations.

4. Establish a selection process

It is important to develop a selection process that helps to identify the best ideas and projects to be implemented.

Using clear criteria to evaluate proposals and select those that best fit the project’s objectives is vital for making the right choice.

5. Foster a culture of innovation

Creating an internal culture of innovation that encourages employees to contribute ideas and work together with external partners is very important.

For this, it is necessary to demonstrate the value of open innovation for the company and how it can benefit everyone.

It is always worth mentioning that open innovation projects are not coming in to replace or compete with the company’s internal agents.

Quite the contrary, these initiatives are there to help and promote the joint development of both parties.

6. Monitor and evaluate the project

Finally, it is necessary to monitor the progress of the project and evaluate the results achieved . Use this information to fine-tune the open innovation process and improve it in the future.

Doing this reassessment from time to time is important for correcting errors and recalculating the route in case of mistakes.

In summary, developing open innovation projects requires a collaborative and strategic effort that must be built based on the company’s objectives, the involvement of external partners and the internal culture of innovation.

Of course there are a number of other factors in this process. However, by following these steps, the chances of success can be quite high.

Why bring open innovation into companies?

Bringing open innovation projects into companies can bring many benefits, as we will explain in the paragraphs below.

1. Access to external knowledge and resources

Open innovation allows companies to access outside knowledge and resources that they might not otherwise have on their team.

This can include expertise in new technologies, ideas, talent, markets and other items that can drive innovation and corporate growth.

2. Acceleration of the innovation process

By involving external actors, the company can accelerate the process of innovation and development of new ideas and solutions.

This is especially important in highly competitive markets, where speed of innovation can be a determining factor in the company’s success.

3. Cost reduction

In addition, open innovation projects can be more cost-effective than internal innovation , as they allow the company to take advantage of outside resources without having to invest in structure.

Additionally, collaborating with partners can lead to cost sharing , further reducing innovation spending.

4. Increased creativity and diversity of ideas

With different perspectives and experiences, the company can increase creativity and diversity of ideas . This can lead to more innovative and creative solutions than would be possible with existing processes alone.

Not to mention that these exchanges can contribute to the development of a corporate environment that is much more diverse and updated with the demands of the modern market.

5. Strengthening the company’s image:

Closing our list, open innovation can strengthen the company’s image as an open and modern organization , which is willing to collaborate with other market players to achieve its goals.

This can increase the company’s attractiveness to investors, customers and talent. The result of this will be reflected in a series of valuable connections in the rich ecosystem of startups.

Where to find the best open innovation opportunities?

If you are looking to connect with innovative startups, but don’t even know where to start this journey, we have the perfect solution for you and your company.

We present to you the 100–10–1 Startups Program , in which you and your team will have access to several startups, learn to evaluate them, provide feedback and mentoring, as well as develop open innovation projects.