Open Bionic Innovation

An innovation management concept for interdisciplinary troubleshooting in product development


In order to remain globally competitive in the long term, both suitable product optimizations and innovative new developments are of considerable importance to companies from a technical perspective. Open innovation offers a means of promoting the generation of ideas and thereby maintaining a company’s capacity to innovate using a methodology that extends beyond the company itself. Bionics is considered to be one of the world’s ten most important innovation technologies, as the transfer of biological mechanisms to technical applications is partly in pursuit of entirely new approaches and is vital in facilitating key innovations in product development. The disadvantage, however, is that the analogies with the natural world must be formed first and then suitable biological mechanisms sought. Analysis of a mechanism often requires specific specialist knowledge of biology, which is generally not available to an engineer. In addition, there are few tools that provide engineers with access to the relevant biological knowledge to enable them to systematically develop or optimize bionic products. While existing association databases provide approaches, they only contain static expertise and can only explore individual problems to a limited extent.

Open Bionic Innovation Übersicht

This is where the Open Bionic Innovation methodology comes in. The core idea behind this is to assist engineers with biologically inspired suggested solutions for new implementation ideas, while at the same time identifying relevant experts in the field in relation to a specific biological mechanism. This means that, in contrast to existing procedures in bionics, product development is not only accelerated due to the reduction in the scope of the search for an analogy, but also expanded in a targeted way to include specifically relevant improvement approaches from biology experts by means of an ideas pool. A platform also provides technical product developers with the opportunity to present their current problems beyond their own company to biologists from a variety of specialist sub-fields in a generally understandable form. They, in turn, are given the opportunity to provide their specific basic expertise directly for utilization in product development and to provide feedback with a suitable analogy or approach. The degree of synergy in such projects may vary, from using experts as a sounding board to cooperation in a development and project supervisory capacity.