Open Innovation Strategy

Open Innovation Strategy and its implementation at the Technology Transfer Office of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Open innovation practices have become increasingly prevalent in recent years as organizations and institutions recognize the value of collaboration and knowledge sharing. The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) has embraced open innovation practices to enhance the university's innovation activities in southeastern Europe.

This resource outlines the various open innovation practices that the TTO at AUTh implements, with a particular emphasis on open innovation calls.

Collaborative Research and Development (R&D) is a critical component of AUTh's open innovation strategy. By involving multiple stakeholders, including faculty, students, and external organizations, in joint R&D projects, AUTh can integrate diverse perspectives, resources, and expertise to produce more comprehensive solutions to complex problems. This approach also fosters a culture of innovation and collaboration within the university, which contributes to a thriving innovation ecosystem.

Knowledge sharing is essential to open innovation, which is why AUTh has developed open-source platforms and tools that enable researchers and innovators to access, share, and build upon each other's work. These platforms encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and expedite the process of turning ideas into tangible solutions.

Networking and partnership building are other key elements of AUTh's open innovation strategy. The university actively participates in regional, national, and international networking events to establish connections with key stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem. By fostering partnerships with other academic institutions, research centers, and industry leaders, AUTh aims to create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange, ultimately strengthening the university's position in southeastern Europe's innovation landscape.

To support early-stage projects and start-ups, AUTh has established incubation and acceleration programs that offer mentorship, funding, and access to resources such as co-working spaces and prototyping facilities. By nurturing the growth of promising ideas, the university contributes to the development of a vibrant innovation ecosystem.

Effective Intellectual Property (IP) management is critical to fostering open innovation. The TTO at AUTh provides guidance and support to researchers and innovators in navigating the complex world of patents, copyrights, and trademarks. The TTO also facilitates licensing agreements and technology transfer to ensure that the fruits of research at AUTh can be effectively commercialized and shared with the broader community.

One key element of AUTh's open innovation strategy is open innovation calls. These calls serve as a platform for interdisciplinary cooperation and accelerate the process of bringing novel solutions to market. By focusing on real-world problems, open innovation calls invite students, faculty, researchers, and external collaborators to submit ideas and proposals to address specific challenges, often in collaboration with industry partners. Open innovation calls typically involve the following stages:

    1. Problem Identification: The TTO works closely with stakeholders to identify pressing challenges that can benefit from open innovation.

    2. Call Announcement: The TTO publicly announces the open innovation call, outlining the problem, submission requirements, and evaluation criteria.

    3. Submission and Evaluation: Participants submit their proposals within a specified time frame. A panel of experts, including university faculty, industry representatives, and TTO staff, evaluates the submissions based on their potential impact, feasibility, and alignment with the problem statement.

    4. Selection and Support: Winning proposals are selected and offered various forms of support, such as funding, mentorship, and access to resources, to help them bring their ideas to fruition.

    5. Implementation and Monitoring: The TTO works closely with the selected teams to ensure the successful implementation of their projects and monitors their progress to facilitate ongoing learning and improvement.

In conclusion, the Technology Transfer Office of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, has implemented a range of open innovation practices to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and strategic partnerships. The practices include collaborative R&D projects involving the university and external organizations, open-source platforms and tools to facilitate knowledge sharing and interdisciplinary collaboration, networking and partnership-building events, incubation, and acceleration programs for early-stage projects and start-ups, intellectual property (IP) management, and open innovation calls. Open innovation calls are a particularly important aspect of the TTO's approach, which enables students, faculty, researchers, and external collaborators to submit ideas and proposals to solve real-world challenges. The TTO follows a five-stage process, including problem identification, call announcement, submission and evaluation, selection and support, and implementation and monitoring. The TTO's open innovation practices contribute to the development of a dynamic and thriving innovation ecosystem around AUTh and will enable the university to remain at the forefront of regional innovation and contribute significantly to the social and economic development of southeastern Europe.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s EIT HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education under Grant Agreement No 10047.

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