Connect, no. 149, July/August 2007, p.3
Innovation has been an essential part of TWI's business for many years. It is a process driven by a desire to find solutions to problems, and is something at which TWI continues to be very successful.
Within TWI, innovation activities are enhanced by regular internal events known as 'Food for Thought'. During lunchtime brainstorming sessions, TWI staff from all parts of the organisation are invited to share ideas on a pre-defined subject presented for discussion.
By addressing key industrial needs suggested by our technical groups and industry teams, the fertile minds within TWI are exercised and will hopefully come up with the next inventions to be developed by TWI.
This culture of innovation does not, however, stay behind closed doors. TWI is seeking to improve links with other hotbeds of research, such as universities, other RTOs and TWI Members, through an 'Open Innovation' approach.
Open Innovation, where organisations cooperate to find the best routes for exploitation of ideas, without being over concerned as to where the idea originated, is a growing trend in many industries. Combining the individual attributes of group members, playing to the strengths of the team and fostering trust are all core competencies on which TWI has built its reputation as the world centre for joining technology. Expanding these skills to encompass external partnerships and commercial arrangements to exploit innovations is the next logical step.
With the arrival of Open Innovation, TWI's IP team is now offering the benefit of its IPR skills to Members. This may be in the form of a friendly discussion on general IPR issues, but might also include the provision of advice, help with exploitation, joint projects and full open innovation agreements.