Friday, April 18, 2014

Closed Innovation? Why, isn’t two heads better than one?

Traditionally, new business processes were developed within the confines the firm.  It would be unthinkable to share information about the firm outside of the firm.  Or, ask for assistance from anyone outside the firm.  This is a dog eat dog world, secrets must be maintained, no stepping outside the box environment.  However, this type of attitude could not withstand the test of time.  Information and knowledge has left the firm as employees changed jobs and took their skills and knowledge with them to their new jobs.  As a result, large amounts of knowledge and experience could not be constrained to just one location or firm.  Closed innovation is coming to an end.  If you are not will change with the time you gamble with being left behind.  With shrinking budgets and demands for efficiencies, a new mindset must take over.  Open innovation and crowdsourcing just might be the answer.

As in the time of the Romans, the MOB has power.  You need a way to tap into that power to fully utilize the depth and breadth of the knowledge, skills and experiences contained within crowd.  Open innovation is about tapping into that power.  One way is through crowdsourcing.  Merriam-Webster defines crowdsourcing as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”  Well, that sounds perfect.  Let's get people involved and interested by using contests.  Contests have a long history of driving innovation, and web-based information technology has opened up new possibilities in area.  The larger the crowd, the larger the experience and knowledge base that will be brought to bear.  The trick will be in reaching the largest possible number of crowd member.  So throw out your crowd nets and get started.  Open innovation is the mindset of the now and future.

A word of warning, remember what happened in Rome with the Mob.  You do not always know which way the wind is blowing or what the mob may be thinking. 

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