This guide explores examples of open innovation in the field of health from around
the world. It analyses the ways that companies, governments, researchers and citizens
are collaborating to improve the innovation process, from the way that problems are
identified to how new products and services are created and then adopted by providers of
Open innovation is a simple idea: the best ideas and knowledge aren’t necessarily found
within big companies, top universities or established networks. Methods that tap a wider
range of people can generate better ideas, at lower cost. They can also democratise
innovation, giving a wider range of people a say in setting priorities.
However, that is easier said than done, and there often needs to be an active process to
develop these ideas into a useful form. This is why we think this guide will be useful: it
provides many practical examples of organisations that have embraced open innovation
methods and highlights the lessons that we think will be useful for other organisations that
want to try to improve their innovation processes with open innovation methods.
While this guide is primarily aimed at policy and decision-makers looking for ways to
improve health innovation, we think that many of the lessons and principles it contains can
also be applied in other sectors.
The guide was developed as part of a collaborative project - São Paulo: Open Innovation
in Health - funded by the UK government’s Prosperity Fund and the São Paulo State
Government. The project was developed in partnership between the governments of
the United Kingdom and the State of São Paulo (Brazil), and implemented by Nesta
and 100%Open (UK) and Fundação Carlos Alberto Vanzolini and Fundação Instituto de
Over a 12-month period, the partners worked together to design and implement two open
innovation pilots in the State of São Paulo. This experience helped to demonstrate how the
ideas in this guide can be used to inform a health administration’s strategies and practices.
Although health systems vary widely across countries, there is much scope for mutual
learning about ways to promote and support innovation.