How Novo Nordisk has used the concept of open innovation and the internet in device development

Marta Gasparin

Student thesis: Master thesis


Open Innovation is one of the most discussed topics in recent years. Inspired by the researches of Henry Chesbrough, it has been perceived as a useful tool for solving the problems of lack of innovation and idea generation. More precisely, Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology. The boundaries between firms and their environment have become more permeable, and innovations can be easily transferred inward and outward. In a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own researches, but should instead buy, license and sell processes or inventions from and to other companies. One possible way to improve the innovation capability is to explore the opportunities within the so-called Open Innovation concept, and especially to identify the opportunities involving external actors and exploring the potentialities of the Internet. Based on the empirical evidence from the R&D medical device department in Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company, the thesis focus is on understanding if it is effectively implementing an open innovation strategy, and which are the opportunities of using the Internet as an tool for increasing the innovation rate. The result of the empirical studies shows that the theory of Open Innovation (OI) is a very flexible concept, that can be used and implemented in many different ways. The results shows that OI is used in different projects. On a scale closed innovation and OI, Novo Nordisk and the different applications of OI is placed somewhere in the middle. The analysis also show that one way to expand a closed innovation model is the use of the web (Internet), and that there are several options that Novo can exploit further, as also some of the competitors are doing already in different ways. Among the recommendations are especially, to continue to make experiment with OI, as that seems to be one way to expand the innovative capabilities of the device development within Novo Nordisk, and also to expand the use of the web in different ways.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages105