NEWS23 April 2010

Open innovation agency spins off from Nesta

New business UK

UK— Roland Harwood and David Simoes-Brown have set up a new open innovation agency, spun off from the innovation body Nesta.

Harwood (pictured) was director of open innovation at Nesta, while Simoes-Brown led its corporate open innovation programme.

The new business, 100%Open, aims to help companies to partner with their suppliers and customers to fuel innovation.

Harwood told Research, “Open innovation is a theme that’s been of interest to people for a number of years and the business models are becoming proven now. There’s a whole series of case histories. It’s gone from being a strategic curiosity three or four years ago to a much more mainstream business practice. We’re essentially open innovation project managers. The core offering is to design and deliver open innovation competitions or what we call open innovation ‘jams’.”

Both offerings build on approaches developed at Nesta. The competitions involve coming up with a brief and making a call to a network of potential participants, with the best ideas to emerge being rewarded. The jams involve a network of organisations and people working together around a “broad challenge or theme”.

The firm’s network of contacts spans creative professionals, startup firms, large companies, academia and government, and initial clients for its work include Orange and Cancer Research UK.

100%Open will also offer open innovation training, which will be led by Nick Jankel-Elliot, and Harwood said “we have big ambitions to do corporate venturing as well”.