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Open Innovation: Work With Your Competitors

By Erol Harvey

Clients, customers, buyers and competitors are innovation sources second only in importance to internal employees.

Erol Harvey FTSE is CEO of MiniFAB (Aust) Pty Ltd, a product development company and manufacturer of polymer-based microfluidic, lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices. He is a former Professor of Microtechnology at Swinburne University.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should relentlessly consume and absorb knowledge about their industry, customers and competition, and then share this information aggressively with employees, collaborators, the market and even their competitors.

They usually have to make a little go a long way, so focus and depth are vital and collaborations are essential.

For any business, but particularly for an SME, the business environment extends well beyond the confines of the enterprise they are in, and being an active and contributing part of your business environment is critical to success.

Open Innovation is becoming a mainstream strategy for both large and small companies. The concept of active participation in a broad innovation and entrepreneurial environment is increasingly common, independent of the size of the organisation.

This talks to the concept of sourcing ideas that drive innovation from a range of external agencies, including competitors.

At MiniFAB we built our business model as a contract product developer and manufacturer of microfluidics and consumable medical devices, tapping directly into the trend to outsourced innovation. More than 80% of our business is with overseas clients.

In our early days our commercial partners and competitors could not understand how internationally connected we could be even when our...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.