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Semantic Technologies and Open Innovation

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Open Innovation is a new paradigm for improving the innovation processes of enterprises, based on the collaborative creation and development of ideas and products. The key feature of this new paradigm is that the knowledge used in this process comes not only from internal sources, i.e. R&D departments, but also from other employees, clients, etc.

The introduction of the Open Innovation paradigm in an enterprise requires not just a modification of the corporate process of innovation but also a cultural change which requires support by an advanced technological infrastructure. It requires corporate knowledge to be made explicit, exchanged and shared between participants, and therefore tools for knowledge management, analysis support and information structuring are required to make these tasks affordable and the data available to all the involved actors. In addition, tools for innovation process support have to provide a high degree of interactivity, connectivity and sharing. All these characteristics can be identified in an Enterprise 2.0 environment where editing and creating documents is easier and interaction and collaboration are key aspects.

However, Enterprise 2.0 tools do not provide formal models for the creation of complex systems managing large amounts of data, and this can be overcome by incorporating Semantic Web technology. In this paper we show how an ontology-based analysis of plain text can provide a semantic contextualization of content support tasks, such as finding semantic distance between contents, and can help in creating relations between people with shared knowledge and interests. We also discuss how the adoption of tools combining Enterprise 2.0 and Semantic Web Technologies supports the Open Innovation process and how three large multi-national European companies, in financial, energy and telecommunication fields, have profited from this new paradigm.



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