Bewildered by open innovation terminology?
Baffled by European Commission vocabulary?

Take a look at our guide to their meanings below.

Closed innovation

Before being open, innovation happened in closed environments often performed by individuals, scientists or employees (for example within the R&D department). The paradigm of closed innovation says that successful innovation requires control and ownership of the intellectual property (IP) and should control the creation and management of ideas.

Collaborative innovation

Organisational innovation has generally been considered a confidential and internal activity. Firms have now recognised that innovative ideas can emerge from anywhere and it is more fruitful to engage others in collaborative innovation where working with others to jointly develop strategies can benefit all organisations involved.

Competitive advantage

Competitive advantage is defined as the strategic advantage (such as differentiation, quality, cost) that a business entity has over its rival entities within its competitive industry. This advantage is derived from pursuing a particular strategy such as adopting an open innovation approach.


Crowdfunding is the process of funding projects by a multitude of people contributing a small amount in order to attain a certain monetary goal.


Crowdsourcing is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people. The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific body, such as paid employees.


The principle behind inside-out innovation is making unused innovations and assets within a company more accessible to external users. This may result in spin-off companies, joint ventures, sale of IP, etc.

Intellectual property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) is a juridical concept which refers to the intangible assets (such as designs, techniques and general know-how) often protected by copyrights and patents.


The North Sea Region Programme 2007-2013 supports transnational regional development projects connecting regions from seven countries around the North Sea. It is part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) initiated by the European Union and the European Commission.

Intrapraneurship (inside-in)

Intrapreneurship is the act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organisation to leverage untapped knowledge, ideas and creativity from those within the organisation. Also known as ‘inside-in’ innovation.

Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS)

The Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS) is responsible for the administration of Interreg IVB including project development, finance and management of the application procedure. Its headquarters are based in Lille.

Open innovation

Open innovation is a term promoted by Henry Chesbrough, a professor and executive director at the Center for Open Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, in his book Open Innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. “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”.

Open source

Generically, open source refers to a computer program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community.


The principle behind outside-in innovation is employing ideas and technology external to the business inwardly to reduce costs and time spent researching and improve efficiency.

Like what you see? Is there a phrase you’d like to see? Leave us a comment.

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