Open Innovation Outlook Italy 2023

Open Innovation is taking off in Italy.
Corporates that once started their Open Innovation journey by increasing their strategic awareness and setting plans and processes, while making initial attempts at some light-touch tools and initiatives, are now increasing their depth of operations and slowly reducing the gap with global innovation leaders.
By collecting data about the largest Italian billion-dollar companies and, with the support of SMAU, a wide sample of Top Italian SMEs, at Mind the Bridge we have been able to compare their performances against global innovation leaders – i.e. what we call “Corporate Startup Stars” – and present them in this report.

Here are some of the main findings:
– Almost all Italian leaders have an open innovation unit and a well-spread strategic awareness of innovation, but still lag in terms of international presence, though the trend is growing. As a consequence, the Venture Client model for startup procurement still lacks a global reach.

– Only a few corporates established large, structured CVC funds, though we recorded some relevant off-balance investments. Startup acquisitions remain sporadic.

– SMEs made significant progress in their open innovation journeys, driven by some pioneer companies that may lead the way for future improvements.

– Innovation awareness and dedicated innovation units, for Top Italian SMEs, are now the norm. A few are making their first steps abroad by establishing an innovation presence in Silicon Valley, while the majority of them are making exploratory steps in corporate-startup collaboration, already producing some preliminary results.

To further improve, Italian leaders and SMEs should avoid short term and PR-oriented efforts and instead focus on results – specifically by increasing their tech scouting scope while expanding their international presence, leveraging the experience and best practices of global innovation leaders and pioneering SMEs.
As a matter of fact, the opportunity to learn from the best is definitely an advantage for late-movers, a chance which shouldn’t be overseen

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