• This publication places the emphasis on the experiences of leading countries with the implementation of open innovation models, such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Sweden and Finland.
  • The study concluded that the innovation policies of each country and the maturity of the ecosystem have an influence on the capacity to develop AI initiatives. There appear to exist incentives and factors that point to encouraging the development of an ecosystem of innovation, among them, tax breaks, policies for the protection of intellectual copyright, connectivity, financing and talent, among others.

In order to promote the growth and transformation of the mining industry toward sustainable development and competitiveness, Expande – with the cooperation of the international consultant EY Chile – launched the publication “Open Innovation in Mining: Models and Implementation”, which analyzes and disseminates best practices at a global level as regards the use of open innovation models.

Enrique Molina, Executive Director of Expande participated in this activity, as well as Eduardo Valente, leading partner for the Energy and Mining Industry at EY Chile; Martin Walter, Mining Industries Specialist at the BID; Lodewijk Verdeyen, CEO of Engie Factory; Julio Morales, Manager of Innovation and Technology of Mining Equipment at Komatsu and Ricardo Morgado, Director for Strategy and Development in Expande.

During the launch, Ricardo Morgado pointed out that “with this publication, the search is on to share with the ecosystem the processes being developed nowadays at a global level, what are the main recommendations for their implementation and what have been the chief experiences we can pinpoint and to what extent do they contribute toward our ecosystem of innovation”.

The executive added also that “we are living in very auspicious times for disseminating these types of models and thus encourage their incorporation, not only for copper mining, but also for the huge challenges the country faces and which we have to tackle in the short term; i.e. lithium, electro mobility, energy  transition and the efficient use of water. All of them are related to the generation of a workplace of collaborative endeavor that needs new tools to identify innovatory tech solutions on different timelines, but always connected with demand”.

On the other hand, Eduardo Valente mentioned that “nowadays, organizations find themselves confronted with the challenge of having to adapt to a business world with accelerated changes and constant disruption. Faced with this scenario, innovation is not one option more, but rather it is the organizations’ duty. Our focus on open innovation is based on the assumption that innovation is the art of creating difficult things by means of collaboration”.

Valente added that “considering the volatility of the mining and metals industry, companies in this sector need innovation to be able to survive, especially when they are operating in a low price environment. Innovation provides solutions that enable them to face their challenges, especially in matters such as productivity; a key aspect for improving competitiveness”.

It is worth highlighting that this study was developed within the framework of the end point of a long road traveled with the help of BID Lab and which, nowadays and after three years, has materialized with the launch of the book “Open Innovation in  Mining: Implementation Models” which is in addition to a series of other publications that have enabled the work of suppliers to be visualized who have responded to the urgency of adding value and shouldering the technological changes that the mining sectors has been clamoring for.

“I believe that this work carried clearly marks the diversity of options available for the promotion of innovation and opportunities for the development of the public and private ecosystem which, together, helps encourage not only new enterprises, but also to finally set aside the notion that countries in Latin America and the Caribbean do not possess the conditions for promoting investments in I+D+i”, Martin Walter – a Specialist in Mining Industries, BID, declared.

Main findings identified

Applying all of the models of open innovation (AI) is enshrined within a determined context that not only depends on industry and influences its effectiveness. In that sense then, innovation policies in each country and the maturity of the ecosystem have an impact on their capability for developing AI initiatives in them. there are certain incentives and factors that point toward encouraging the development of an ecosystem of innovation, among them, tax breaks policies for the protection of intellectual property, financing and talent, among others,.

After analyzing these ecosystems of innovation, one of the things that sprung to mind was the tendency to specialize in them and the relevance of the policies in those countries in favor of accelerating innovation within the economy. Nonetheless, policies must not be isolated from one another. Factors such as global connectivity, local interconnection, financing, talent, collaboration, the quality of educational institutions and innovation policies go a long way to improving the conditions for innovation ecosystems to prosper.

An analysis of these models reveals that open innovation is far less developed in other industries. One of the reasons lies in the difficulty of integrating technologies and the costliness involved in testing them. Large suppliers usually innovate through startups, using techscouting models, idea contests and CVC, among others, and if the technological risk is less, they offer these technologies to their mining customers or they work together with them in Joint Ventures.

The new open innovation models (networking, mentorship, techscouting, club deal, idea contests, corporate accelerators, venture capital, joint ventures, corporate venture capital) found in this publication propose different methods for their development and which follow the needs of the company, requiring different levels of commitment, not only in terms of capital financing, but also regarding shared skills and experience.