Opinion Column

Open Innovation, the Answer for Highly Complex Challenges

Published December 15, 2020

For a decade now at Fundación Chile we have been monitoring the so called VUCA world; a highly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. If on top of this we are to add the past few years’ crises, whether the Covid 19 pandemic, climate change, economic or social crises, the main question resides on how can an organization such as ours, continue to contribute to the country, the economy, society, and ultimately, to the well-being of the people.

One of the answers is that we have embraced permanent change as a vehicle to create value. Change has led us to be more connected with different environments, both global and local, private, public, technological, and related to the civil society. High impact models of innovation, of radical collaboration, that is to say, without any ambivalences of any sort: we simply participate aiming to achieve the greater good.

That is how through a retrospective and evolutionary process, we introduce models that achieve synergies to rescue the best of our organization and our environment. Then, what should this value proposition respond to?

1) Understanding what phenomena, trends, and challenges are constantly arising in this dynamic and global world.

2) Defining the people that could be part of the solution for these challenges.

3) The most appropriate vehicles or forms to tackle the issues, and

4) Long term ways of supporting them so they can be flexible and permanent solutions.

It is evident that there is no company, organization, or government that can provide the answer to all of these variables on their own. Hence, this is the starting point from where Fundación Chile has substantially emphasized the open innovation model. Where solutions can come from anywhere, any actor, or any market agent.

We have found the virtuosity of the work between large corporations and start ups, where more than competitors, we have managed to find a critical meeting point that combines the understanding of the challenges of these large companies with the creativity and flexibility of the possible solutions of the start-ups.

What we thought was exclusive to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as venture capital funds, has become an investment vehicle for large corporations that provides them not only with good financial returns but also with direct connections to dynamic, creative, and innovative environments such as the world of start-ups.

This new model, that overthrows old paradigms, has had spectacular, however not surprising results. It has allowed us to find high-impact solutions to pandemic issues, to climate change challenges, to complex and diverse problems in mining, retail, financial services, the world of telcos, insurance, technology companies, etc. That is to say, it is not tied to a particular sector, nor to a specific problem. Its value resides in the process and in their “how”. But the impact is obviously given by the enthusiasm and commitment caused by the purpose pursued by each of the actors involved in this mechanism.

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