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Airbus Group’s departing CTO on his open innovation strategy

Peter Stojanovic

Dr Jean Botti understands that Airbus Group needs to stay agile to remain competitive, and he wants to engage with open innovation to ensure it does.

Large, established, companies are constantly seeking innovation inspiration for their next set of ideas.

It’s not just because they need to continue pushing the boundaries on their technologies, products or services, but because entry level startups are increasingly competing for market share and tech talent.

This presents several challenges for companies like Airbus Group, which needs to constantly navigate innovative methods and solutions despite their size.

The Group’s CTO, Jean Botti, recognized the need for a new vision and direction, and has widened his search for innovation inspiration.

“[For inspiration] we look a lot inside, and a lot outside [the company], especially when we consider our 265 partnerships in the academia and national laboratories we manage.”

Airbus Group also partners with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to leverage its products all over the world.

However, this methodology looks more like a “peanut butter spread effect”, as Botti posits, “which we need to stop.”

What Botti means by this is that the amount of partnerships the Group facilitates, forces the set amount of funding to be spread too lightly over many different functions.

Botti would rather the Group focus on several “chunks” allowing it to focus its energy and expenditure, creating “bigger things for tomorrow.”

This is Botti’s transformation plan for the company.

As well as refocusing the company’s initiatives, he also wants to realign the Group with the idea of “open innovation.”

“Despite our worldwide presence,” he continues, “we need to look at the potential of open innovation, dedicating larger budgets to initiatives.”

Open innovation allows companies to speed up their processes, encouraging efficiency and proactivity among different organizations.

Airbus Group’s CTO wants the company to engage with innovation inspiration tools as a response to the emerging competition in this space and drive, a process of transformation for the business.


Jean Botti accepted the position of Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Philips in January of this year, and will start as of April 1 2016.