Some of the reasons why you should think about open innovation for your organization

As most of you know by now, we intend to be "The open innovation driver" in Portugal and beyond. You may be aware of the open innovation concept, but the reasons why you should take a deep dive with our innovators and us, might not be as transparent as we hoped. We secretly heard a conversation between four of our good partners and resumed it in this short text below (all in the name of bringing you clarity on why you should do it).

“Open innovation to propel continuous improvement”.

Nuno Matos, Head of Digital, Transformation, and Innovation @ CTT

Nuno is leading the transformation of a business that’s around a little after the Portuguese Discoveries started – CTT is commemorating 500 years in 2020. As he says, and we couldn’t agree more, “only an organization with the ability to reinvent itself and adapt to change would be capable of overcoming the several challenges and technology and social revolutions of these 500 years.”
With the current pandemic context and the CTT’s core market – the postal services – in decline, the company needs to keep innovating to find new solutions, markets, and business opportunities. In order to do this, “the relationship with the startup and open innovation ecosystem play a key role,” and they want to keep partnering with innovators for the sake of beating obstacles and progressing towards CTT’s goals.”

“Benefiting from the tech community ingenuity”

Francisco Palmares, Project Manager @ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

Although not as old as the CTT, the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is also a heavyweight when it comes to elder organizations in Portugal. Their everyday mission is to provide equal opportunities to build a sustainable society.
We spotted Francisco saying that “Hack for Good is, since 2016, one of our main instruments to deploy this mission and open innovation has been a crucial characteristic.” We giggled and filled ourselves with pride to know we’re part of such a noble mission, one that uses technology to solve society’s most pressing problems. Gulbenkian’s team is using the hackathons as a mutual benefit: they use the tech community’s ingenuity and, in return, they fulfill their innovators’ needs, whether they are capital, mentoring, or incubation and acceleration programs. From his point of view, “if you’re willing to provide the right amount of opportunities and support to the tech community, the potential of open innovation to solve social and environmental problems is immeasurable.”

“Be closer to the community (and much more!)”

Teresa Bianchi de Aguiar, Senior Manager @ LTPlabs

EUREKATHON was also a memorable hackathon we developed with LTPlabs. The “purpose was originally a common vision of LTP, NOS, and Porto Business School of increasing the awareness of the community for the huge potential of leveraging data for better decisions and a greater good,” as we heard Francisca saying. LTPlabs’ hackathon first edition happened in 2019 when 23 teams were challenged to use data to improve the health and well-being of the Portuguese population at risk of social isolation, another mission that’s dear to us and is one of the 17 sustainable development challenges of the United Nations. Francisca then named five reasons why you should invest in open innovation: give back to the community; increase the awareness of the vast potential of leveraging data for better decisions; bring together data sources that otherwise would be very difficult to join, such as private sources of information; be closer to the data community; inspire youngsters to pursue a data career.
We also heard Francisca saying that EUREKATHON will be coming back this year, where they will challenge innovators to find solutions for “Zero Hunger,” another UN goal.

“Find solutions to challenges from a different perspective”

João Castro, Head of Center for Digital Business @ Nova SBE.

How often do you see education organizations working with their students in order to find solutions for the challenges they are facing? It is not that common, but - as with many other things - Nova SBE is ahead of its time and brought the challenges to their community via the PULSE challenge, where they aimed to find ideas and technological solutions.
We listened to João. “We are fortunate to work with a bright-minded diverse group who has a different perspective on what surrounds them,” he said. And they wanted to tap into these minds and leverage their different points of view. To do so, they had to put themselves in a humble position: “We know organizations tend to follow an ‘I know best’ approach, even if involuntarily, and create paternalistic and prescriptive solutions which are at a larger risk of failing.” With PULSE, they were able to dodge this trap and hear about their priorities and find solutions to some of the challenges Nova SBE was facing.

All in all, we could not be happier with what we’ve done so far. It’s not only incredibly fulfilling to know our partners are using our hackathons to develop their business – and boost Portugal’s economy –, but also to fight for social justice using technology and exceptional talents around the world.

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