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Spain stands out in open innovation: what is the current situation?

Open innovation

The answer to the needs of large companies is open innovation. The speed at which markets are evolving, the proliferation of new technologies and the resistance to change are forcing corporations to seek external solutions that are innovative, flexible and disruptive. But why does Spain stand out in open innovation? Find out here!

First, what is open innovation?

Open innovation is a new term developed by Henry Chesbrough. The focus of this is simply that companies and organizations collaborate with other external sectors. 

For example, customers, suppliers, universities, startups and other companies. This in order to develop new ideas, products, services or processes. 

All this is a method that will make it possible not to rely solely on internal ideas and resources. So it is all about a company opening up its innovation processes to external collaboration to extend its reach and, as a consequence, increasing its innovation capacity.

3 characteristics

All companies that implement open innovation have been able to identify 3 key characteristics. Check them out below!

Open innovation

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Why does Spain stand out in open innovation?

Basically, the main reason why Spain currently stands out in open innovation is because it is the European country that stands out most for its collaborations with large companies and startups in cybersecurity. This is to find definitive solutions to business challenges.

This is possible because, in Spain, 79% of companies have a business unit dedicated to open innovation. According to the Sopra Steria report, Spanish companies are among the most active in terms of their regular collaboration with emerging companies or startups.

In this regard, Spain stands out as the best organized country for managing collaborations. Not only that, but it has the highest number of companies surveyed with a business unit dedicated exclusively to managing innovation projects.

What does the Open Innovation Report 2023 study by Sopra Steria, Ipsos and INSEAD academics say?

According to this study, up to 51% of Spanish companies work in the area of cybersecurity hand in hand with emerging businesses. Likewise, 49 % are focused on the metaverse; while 52 % are concerned about sustainability, which makes it a country more focused on this aspect than most European countries.

In addition, this report also states that there are 4 phases in the collaboration between Spain and startups. These are:

  1. Finding the right startup
  2. Validate capabilities
  3. Experiment and develop
  4. Carry out solution scaling.

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What does the European Innovation Scoreboard say?

This 2019 study, states that Spain stands out in Sales Impact / Sales of new-to-market and new-to-firm innovation, which measure the volume of business generated by national products or products that rank second in Europe.

In this sense, it is the business sector that has made a decisive contribution to R&D, with an 8.2% increase in investment. 

This is especially noticeable in the investment made by multinationals established in the country. The latter contribute 38.4% of business investment. In the public sector, in fact, investment is recovering. In fact, last year there was an increase of 3.3%.

What has been the growth of open innovation in Spain?

Spain, due to its good collaboration with startups, has experienced a significant growth in open innovation in recent years, and this is due to several reasons that we list below:

Open innovation

In short, Spain has managed to create a favorable environment for open innovation, thanks to collaboration between companies, government support and a business culture of innovation.

In which sectors does Spain stand out in open innovation?

Spain stands out in many open innovation initiatives, as large Spanish corporations operate in a wide range of sectors. For example: ICT, the financial or retail sector, the energy sector.

All of them are leaders in the ability to synergistically bring together the educational and scientific environment of the University with the business fabric. This is achieved thanks to the fact that most of them have their own programs for startups.

5 advantages of open innovation worth knowing about

If you are one of those who have not yet decided whether to take the step to implement open innovation in your company, here are 7 benefits that will surely make you change your mind:

Open innovation

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Learn more about open innovation and how Spain stands out in it by contacting us through our email We have a team trained to provide you with the knowledge you need on this topic and much more. 

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