The Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst – just across the road from GSK’s R&D labs – made good use of networking at its Open Innovation meeting last week. A number of speakers led a big audience from all parts of the industry into some interesting thoughts and ideas for open innovation – an approach not widely used in bioscience because of the high cost of research and the value of subsequent IP. In addition to Patrick Vallance, President, Pharmaceuticals R&D at GSK, two speakers from outside the industry stole the show: Stefan Lindegaard, an open innovation expert and author, and Simon Schneider, General Manager, Grand Challenges at Innocentive, the web-based organisation on which problems can be posted and bids sought for their solution, where many problems find instant solutions from people who have already solved similar problems in other fields. And the managers of the day made very effective use of a networking approach in which everyone was invited to introduce themselves to their neighbour at the beginning of the first session and, even better, at the beginning of every break-out session (where they have an interest in common). But old habits die hard, and while the breaks (with great food) were the usual outstanding way of making and furthering contacts, all of the sessions were held in lecture style rooms (as opposed to the more neighbourly cafeteria style).
Copyright John Whatmore 2012