The social impact of technology: the new frontiers of Open Innovation

5 June 2019

In recent years companies have been experiencing a profound transformation thanks to Open Innovation, a new approach identified by the Californian economist Henry Chesbrough, which envisages a collaboration between internal resources and the means, ideas and solutions coming from outside. “The involvement of private individuals, startups, universities and institutions has broadened the spectrum of action of technological research, whose social impact is increasingly evident and embraces different spheres of action” (from:

The Open Innovation translates itself into the symbiotic union of several partners from different contexts, who mix resources and knowledge in order to develop solid innovative solutions with a strong social implication on daily life: the reduction of carbon emissions, the fight against some diseases and the development of more eco-sustainable products and services, are just some of the challenges for which science is called to fight, as I underline in the editorial written in collaboration with Joon Mo Ahn, Graduate School of Management of Technology (Sogang University), Nadine Roijakkers, Faculty of Management, Science, and Technology, (Open University) and Letizia Mortara, Institute for Manufacturing (University of Cambridge).

Organizations such as Emergency, already adopt solutions resulting from Open Innovation, leveraging local resources to provide medical services and transfer fundamental knowledge to the communities where they operate. In the same vein, the European Union and many other governments that involve citizens in public administration, develop shared innovation dynamics such as Living Labs and Smart City projects, to produce significant and lasting changes in people’s lives.

Technological innovation thus becomes the spokesman of not only scientific but also cultural, social, economic, political and environmental benefits, which must also become an integral part of the managerial training of tomorrow’s leaders. The Global MBA in Innovation Management of Bologna Business School forms aspiring innovation managers from all over the world through an academic path with a strong practical approach, designed to make them able to intercept frontier innovation and make it a growth engine for the companies.

The social impact of technological transformation is not in fact a short-term phenomenon, but involves various actors in a medium-wide range perspective: this constructive vision of innovation in fact calls into question both educational organizations such as universities and institutes of research, as non-profit organizations, politicians and targets of a specific audience. Each of these stakeholders takes on different roles within the same process, participating in mechanisms that contribute to directing the strategy towards high-impact actions from various points of view. However, this is a continuous improvement, both in terms of defining strategic objectives and implementing the same processes, to the point that “OI” has been defined by a sort of “innovative innovation“.

An approach, ultimately, of the innumerable advantages for the parties involved, given that working within teams composed of know-how from different backgrounds and creating profitable collaborations between transversal sectors makes it possible to improve one’s learning abilities and develop a more constructive focus: all this requires both openness and dynamism, especially if we consider the current era in which the globalization of the labor market and the spread of digital technologies requires us to live in a world that is perennially connected and in constant evolution.

Never before this union has been so strength, but only with a multidisciplinary mindset that allows us to see technological innovation as the key to improving our daily lives.


Riccardo Fini, Director of Studies, Global MBA Innovation Management

Adapted From:
Leveraging Open Innovation to Improve Society: Past Achievements and Future Trajectories
Joon Mo Ahn, Nadine Roijakkers, Riccardo Fini, Letizia Mortara, R&D Management 


Open Innovation


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