In November 2008 Henry Chesbrough founded an exclusive, members-only club: The "powerhouse Berkeley Innovation Forum". Major companies like Coca-Cola, Kraft, Philips Electronics and others joined the club for an annual membership fee of 10,000$. Members are meeting privately twice a year and communicate over a private online community.
Their official target is to "share ideas on how to meet research and development challenges across industries". But inofficial it is a direct way for companies to communicate with a top researcher in Berkely and the leader on the topic of open innovation.
A closed initiative for open innovation?
To put it blunty: Henry Chesbrough is making a lot of money with this club. Approximately 320.000$ each year for some consulting services. Well, that's one side of the story. We shouldn't be jealous on this, because I guess that everbody make the same in his situation.
But honestly: Isn't this just contradictory to Chesbrough's paradigm of open innovation? For instance, look at Eric von Hippel. He is a researcher on "Community Based Innovation" (see books like "Democratizing Innovation") at the MIT and he is as famous (or even more) as Chesbrough. But in contrast to Chesbrough, von Hippel is living the "open" approach and is providing a free PDF-version of his book "Democratizing Innovation" online.
I think, Henry Chesbrough should reconsider his concept of a closed innovation initiative. I guess, that he is already whealthy enough and doesn't depend on these 320.000$ anymore.