Open Innovation – Can We Do This in the Caribbean?

All but one of the presenters on the study tour used this term in their presentation. What is open innovation? Why was Eindhoven and all of these incubators championing this?

The Strip at High Tech Campus, Eindhoven, Holland

As we walked through the High Tech Campus Eindhoven all of the doors were open. It had been the same at the other incubators and buildings we’d visited. Separate companies developing different things but they kept their doors open not to get fresh air but for fresh ideas to flow. They believe and practice the idea that through collaboration they can build better and more useful technology.

HTC believes this so much that no company is allowed to have a lunch room within their office. Everyone is asked to make use of the variety of restaurants on The Strip. This building houses restaurants with a variety of cuisine including authentic Indian curry and Italian. You can choose to eat inside the beautifully designed spaces or outside while you catch the sun and look out over the pond.

But don’t bring cash as it is of no use there. Only money cards and credit cards with pins are accepted. It has been that way for ten years now.

The Indian restaurant at The Strip, High Tech Campus, Eindhoven

hightechcampus2 Open innovation is a far cry from how business in the Caribbean is done however, I believe this is going to change. We need to adapt or we will die. Rapidly changing tech means we have to move faster and we will move faster together. We need people who want to collaborate and be able to include others in their growth. Our small island states are incapable of making the necessary strides without external financial, technical and knowledge support. So we need to collaborate across sectors and borders.

The main ingredient of Eindhoven’s success is the trifecta of government, knowledge and business. The three sectors agreed on what was needed and then set in motion a structure to deliver on it.

What will it take to change this current trajectory of enclosed thinking and hiding from each other that is prevalent across the Caribbean?

The Caribbean has brilliant minds capable of solving local problems. While I want to see how this will evolve, I am more focused on being one of the people who will practice this in order to manifest the kind of growth we need to experience right now.