A New Approach to Open Innovation: Quebec Problem Conference

Publicado: octubre 22, 2010 en eventos
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A very fresh and innovative approach to open innovation is coming from Quebec, Canada: The Problem Conference (Quebec City, 14th December 2010).

The core idea:

  • Turn a conference upside down. Instead of presenting “solutions” and “best practices” to impress the other participants with your successes, present your hardest challenge. Present what you could not solve, and ask openly for help! The (beginning of the) solution then will be co-created with the participants.

Organized by IDTEQ and the Quebec Innovation Council, the hosts invite you to experience open innovation in a new format. Large companies, SMEs, R&D centers and universities will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with this principle by sharing their problems – and co-creating an innovative solution. For one day, proponents of complex problems from various industrial sectors will challenge attendees. The goal is to broaden the understanding of the issue and possibly to seek for potential solutions.

The conference shall become a place where concrete problems of small, medium, and large companies will be discussed to deepen the understanding of the issue and to seek potential solutions. At the same time, this will become a laboratory for experimenting with and implementing open innovation (OI). Participants shall be able to use the intelligence of experts in various fields to find solutions to your problems. While most OI initiatives have been organized on online platforms, this conference shall become one of the first large-scale offline events!

Problems can be submitted within one of three different categories:

  • Innovation Problems: These problems are usually upstream of innovation, but have a significant impact on an organization’s innovation capacity. Such problems are economic, organizational, social, or political in nature.
  • Industrial Problems: Industrial problems with a strong technical component will be submitted by companies facing innovation problems in new technology development or in product design or improvement.
  • Large Scale Problems (with multiple components): At least one large scale problem will be the focus of a group intelligence activity that will involve all participants and will have the potential to advance understanding of the problem. This problem will be submitted by an international organization facing a number of complex innovation issues.

I am personally very proud of this initiative, as it has been born during a workshop in spring of this year. During this workshop, I first provided an introduction into open innovation to an audience of about 50 companies and research institutions from the Quebec region. We then continued with some open space discussions on possible applications and ideas for the Quebec region. The Problem Conference was one of the ideas, which then was followed up and refined by a team in Quebec in the last months.

For more information on this event and the tool, go to http://www.quebec-solutions.com. The conference will be organized in cooperation with the 3rd ISPIM Innovation Symposium. I will participate in person in December and am very curious to see how it will work and what will be the results.

Frank Piller (RWTH/MIT)



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