Over the years, innovation in industrial product development has had an enormous impact on society. The development towards the fourth stage of industrialisation currently shapes the design engineering strategy towards industrial value creation in the early industrialized countries. The development towards a new industrial product development process provides immense opportunities for realising sustainable manufacturing using information and communication technology (ICT). Besides these environmental contributions enabled by innovative design engineering, it also holds a great opportunity for achieving sustainable industrial value creation on all three sustainability dimensions: economic, social and environmental. To achieve this, manufacturers are increasingly turning towards Open Innovation (OI) as a means of enhancing their innovation in design engineering.
What is open innovation?
Open innovation is a process designed to accelerate innovation through collaboration. Under this approach for design engineering, all the stakeholders involved in the project works with external partners on new ideas to generate business opportunities. OI breaks down boundaries and allows companies to share and integrate resources with partner organizations and internal units. Throughout the product development process from research to design engineering to manufacturing, OI is characterized by the involvement of an industry’s major functions. The organizations adopting OI find these reasons as major motivation:
- Shorter time to market
- Finding new technologies
- Finding new ideas
- Cost optimization
- Access to new markets
Open Innovation concept can be compared with product lifecycle management (PLM) as a key enabling platform across the enterprise based on a particular sourcing strategy applied to product development.
Engineering outsourcing is increasingly becoming the norm for new product development and manufacturing engineering projects – to reduce cost, access new talents, and benefits from new ideas and new ways of working. PLM enables outsourcing and collaboration with tools and processes to manage data created for design engineering by product designers, manufacturing engineers, service engineers, sales and marketing, etc. and used across the enterprise. The model defines and structures the information concerning a product during its entire lifecycle and through the extended enterprise. Ultimately, PLM enables faster innovation in design engineering, lower product development costs, and more winning products by delivering the visibility necessary for virtual verification and validation of design concepts before manufacturing and delivery.
Enabling profitable and sustainable design engineering
By providing flexibility and transparency in the product development process, virtual product development and PLM allows intellectual property to be shared throughout the enterprise enabling companies to be more innovative and deliver products at a faster rate. It also allows companies to use design engineering to develop environmentally sustainable products. With PLM, companies can decrease the consumption of nonrenewable energy and solid waste throughout the design and production lifecycle.
With the right tools for design engineering and product development, you too can deliver better, more innovative, environmentally-friendly products at the lowest possible cost, and achieve sustainable, organic growth.