Educating Open Innovation Ambassadors

Nizar Abdelkafi







Anne-Katrin Neyer








Tim, Paul, and Luisa, caricatured in figure 12.1, have just received their university degrees and are ready to start their first job. However, they are asking themselves: Are we well prepared? Do we have the skills to do a great job in an increasingly global, virtual, technology-mediated, work environment? Are we ready for what Lynda Gratton (2011) recently called “the shift,” that is, the future of work? At the same time their potential employers are asking similar questions: Who can we hire with the ability to interact with others who have different backgrounds, functions, and interests (Neyer et al. 2009)? Who can be open enough to overcome long-recognized but still formidable barriers to innovation, such as the “not-invented-here” dilemma (Katz and Allen 1982) and group think (Janis 1982)? We believe these pressing questions challenge higher education and that one promising response is to integrate an “open perspective” into universities. After getting their academic degrees many students will act as boundary spanners in increasingly open business environments. Educational institutions should do much more to prepare them for the challenges involved.


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The Book

The book Leading Open Innovation describes OI’s search for smart people who might expand the space for innovation.
It reflects international, cross-sector, and transdisciplinary interests among contributors from the United States, Germany, France, Finland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Tunisia, Austria, and China working in large multinational organizations, academic institutions, or entrepreneurial projects.
They are part of the Peter Pribilla network, which Ralf Reichwald describes at the end of the volume as a point of contact that supports overlapping interests in innovation and leadership.

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