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Harnessing Exaptation and Ecosystem Strategy for Accelerated Innovation: Lessons from the VentilatorChallengeUK

by Wei Liu, Ahmad Beltagui, Songhe Ye, and Peter Williamson

Harnessing Exaptation and Ecosystem Strategy for Accelerated Innovation: Lessons from the VentilatorChallengeUK

Image Credit | This is Engineering

The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium moved quickly to speed up the design, regulatory approval, and manufacture of more than 81,000 ventilators during the COVID-19 crisis.
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Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis has underlined the need for accelerated innovation to rapidly help business solve social problems. These problems require access to capabilities and knowledge that no single organization or existing supply chain possesses. Drawing on the experience of the open innovation and rapid-scale-up achieved by the VentilatorChallengeUK to address a shortage of ventilators required by patients seriously ill with COVID-19, this article develops a framework for accelerated innovation and delivery that crosses traditional industry boundaries. It offers a series of important lessons for how open innovation, exaptation, and ecosystem strategies - backed by a set of enabling initiatives - can be used to solve multi-faceted social and business problems at speed.


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