Innovation is seldom a one-man effort. More and more often, inspiration for innovation lies outside your own organization. Inspiration comes from ideas and knowledge from other companies, regions or industries that you can translate and adapt to your own context. A cross-pollination of all these ideas generates the best innovations.

The Flemish economy has fast become an inspiration-driven economy (Devoldere et al, 2014), with cross-pollination at the center of many successful innovations. Flanders is ideally situated to exploit the full potential of the inspiration economy. But how to go about this? How do you make the most of a cross-pollination with others?

Despite its vast potential, cross-pollination remains underappreciated as a source of innovation. In addition, the phenomenon has hardly received any scholarly attention. This is why we have decided to invest significantly in developing a model for cross-industry innovation together with Vlerick Business School. This model is represented at

Cross-industry innovation is obviously quite complex. Though no two situations are alike, two important phases are inherent in the process; inspiration and innovation. Both phases contain the same four steps: challenge, connect, cross-pollinate and create. The website provides a useful presentation of all four, based on the story of Jan Van Hecke and the PRoF consortium. We explain how to get started with each step, which tips & tricks to take into account and which tools to use along the way.

If you want to read more about this model, you can download the full research report: Managing Cross-Industry Innovation Clusters (Devoldere et al, 2016). 

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