Whats the difference between innovation commons and open innovation

While there are similarities between the Innovation Commons and Open Innovation concepts, there are also important differences in their focus and approach.

Let’s explore these differences to understand the concepts.

The scope of the collaboration

Innovation Commons focuses on creating a collaborative environment where different individuals and organizations come together to promote innovation. It includes both physical and virtual spaces that facilitate open collaboration, knowledge sharing and co-creation of ideas and solutions.

Open innovation focuses primarily on the integration of external ideas, technologies and expertise into an organization’s innovation process. It highlights the importance of seeking external sources of innovation, such as partnerships with external entities, crowdsourcing ideas or licensing technology.

Collaborative ecosystem

Innovation Commons aims to build a collaborative ecosystem that transcends organizational boundaries. It encourages individuals, organizations and communities to actively participate in knowledge exchange, co-creation and sharing of resources and expertise.

Open innovation is often driven by a specific organization’s strategic goals. It seeks to leverage external sources of innovation to complement and enhance internal R&D efforts. It involves collaborations and partnerships with external entities, such as suppliers, customers or research institutions, to benefit from their knowledge and capabilities.

Ownership and Intellectual Property Rights

Innovation Commons often operate under the principles of open access and open source, where the focus is on sharing knowledge and ideas freely. The emphasis is on collective learning, contribution and replication, with less emphasis on individual ownership or protection of intellectual property rights.

Open Innovation recognizes the value of intellectual property rights and may involve formal agreements, contracts or licensing arrangements to protect and control the flow of knowledge and innovations. While external collaboration is pursued, organizations typically retain ownership of the resulting innovations.

Community versus organizational focus

Innovation Commons places great emphasis on building a collaborative community of individuals and organizations. It fosters a culture of openness, inclusion and shared purpose. The primary goal is to create an ecosystem that supports innovation and broader knowledge development.

Open innovation is primarily driven by organizational goals and strategies. It seeks to utilize external sources of innovation to meet specific organizational needs, such as improving products, processes or market reach. The focus is on extracting value and achieving competitive advantage for the organization.


In summary, while both Innovation Commons and Open Innovation involve collaboration and integration of external ideas, they differ in scope, approach, ownership, and community versus organizational focus.

Innovation Commons aims to create a collaborative ecosystem that transcends organizational boundaries, with a focus on open collaboration, co-creation and community building.

Open Innovation, on the other hand, is about accessing external sources of innovation to complement internal efforts and achieve specific organizational goals, often with formal agreements and intangible considerations.

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