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Published by:
London Business School (2007)
6 November 2006
39 pages
Data source:
Field research
The case explores the open innovation strategy of the UK-based BT Group, one of the largest telecommunication services providers in the world. A combination of market deregulation and the convergence of formerly distinct industries presented BT with an intensity of competition that many considered unprecedented in the industry. Most BT executives believed that in order to succeed in such a competitive market, BT needed to increasingly introduce new products and services and that those innovations would not come out of BT's own labs alone. Therefore, BT's ability to source and commercialise external innovation was paramount to its survival. In this context, BT decided to establish a number of technology scouting units around the world to spot emerging business models and technologies and flag them to the lines of business in the UK. The case describes the challenges and benefits of this technology scouting process To further accelerate the process of bringing external innovation inside, BT must now decide whether to establish scouting units in other parts of the world, to increase the number of staff in the existing scouting units or to have more people in the UK trying to sell internally the ideas spotted by the scouting units.
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