NESTA’s Innovation Hub

Papers May 5, 2010 1:48 pm
The purpose of this paper is to explore and analyse the UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) innovation hub. The aim is to examine how innovation occurs in the networks that NESTA has pulled together and understand the inter-organizational relationships that have been forged since its creation.

To accomplish this goal, a theoretical framework based on network theory is applied as a tool to describe the relationships and draw conclusions. Literature from the IMP group explaining business interactions, Henry Chesbrough’s open innovation model, systems of innovation and NESTA’s own research and reports guide the analysis of the findings.

An integral part of this document is the empiric description and analysis of NESTA’s networks. This research has lead to the discovery of 381 industrial relationships between NESTA, internal projects, spin-offs, clients, investments, funding agencies, external partners and other first and second-degree relationships. Having constrained time and resources, cost effective strategies that require a minimal intrusion in the organization where required to perform this research. An innovative approach based on the use of a wide array of digital tools was designed, incorporating state of the art visualization and network discovery methods such as website inter-organizational link mapping, twitter real time network visualization and document data analysis to extract implicit information about relationships out of publicly available sources.

The discovered relationships are in no way comprehensive, but they represent a good start point to understand the complexity of the industrial relationships present in NESTA’s networks.

This document is structured starting with a brief description of NESTA, following with a description and analysis of NESTA’s network, the presentation of the theoretical framework applied, a review of one of their main achievements; building a fully functional open innovation organization and finishing with conclusions about NESTA’s present and future as an innovation hub.

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