Innovation through accelerators: a case for open innovation
Mohalajeng, Lerato E.
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Background: Open innovation is becoming a progressive business practice in Southern Africa because it plays a significant role in economic development through promoting the commercialisation of new ideas. The challenge is that while the benefits of open innovation are widely spoken about, not much is understood about the challenges and successes of open innovation accelerators (OIAs) in taking ideas to market. Aim: The purpose of this research was to investigate an OIA in South Africa for taking ideas to market. Setting: The Innovation Hub is a science park in Pretoria, South Africa, using open innovation to stimulate entrepreneurship in South Africa. Through The Innovation Hub Open IX, a webbased platform, an opportunity to investigate the bridging from invention to commercialisation is presented. Methods: A qualitative research method using semi-structured, in-depth interviews was applied to collect data. Five key stakeholders of the OIA were interviewed. Results: The findings suggest that stakeholder buy-in is essential for commercialisation through OIAs in South Africa. By involving stakeholders in the initial phases of the open innovation process, the likelihood of a solution being incorporated and fitted into the organisation's business strategy is increased. Conclusion: The insight gained from this research suggests policymakers, research institutions and commercial businesses ought to explore various innovations across industries relevant to their open innovation proficiencies. This research makes a significant contribution to an indepth understanding of what is needed to bridge the gap from invention to successful commercialisation through open innovation.