Virtuous Open Innovation Ecosystem

In our last article, we talked about Predatory vs. Ecological Behavior in Open Innovation. The non-predatory, or virtuous, open-innovation ecosystem is probably the ultimate achievement in implementing open innovation. Many analysts are dissecting Silicon Valley’s success stories in an effort to discover the magic recipe for a successful innovation culture. Examples other than Silicon Valley may also prove the existence and effectiveness of virtuous open-innovation ecosystems: in technology, the Boston area, particularly around MIT; in painting, Paris during the roaring 1920s, in filmmaking, Hollywood during the 1950s through the 1970s. These clusters share some key characteristics: a strong academic base, sufficient job opportunities to attract brilliant newcomers, a culture of freedom, and a critical size. Many places around the world are

Read more

Open Innovation: Predatory vs. Ecological Behavior

There are several ways to perform open innovation, particularly for large, powerful companies. Open innovation starts by the action of seeking a source of knowledge, then entering into a relationship with the chosen partner with the objective of integrating the acquired knowledge into an innovation project. The relationship between what we will call the knowledge source and the integrator must be framed within a contract. The contract is drafted jointly by the partners during preliminary discussions, which are covered, at that point, by a mere NDA. The most important aspect of this early phase is that the two parties reach a mutual understanding of the strategic guidelines. Any hidden agenda will result, sooner or later, in a crisis that could

Read more

Open Innovation as a Result of Converging Trends

The transition from closed innovation to open innovation has been slow but broad; open innovation, a collaborative approach, is used in a growing number of industries and countries. Gradually but inexorably, open innovation has become more efficient than closed innovation. The term open innovation was coined in a must-read book of the same name. We see the transition from closed innovation to open innovation as a Darwinian process: because the environment has changed and open innovation is, on average, more successful than closed innovation; companies must evolve, choosing to use this more collaborative approach to innovation, or be passed by. This is similar to mammals supplanting dinosaurs as planetary conditions changed. We have already explored some of key factors that

Read more

Proliferation of Start-up Firms

Start-up companies are extremely active at the frontier of applied science. Their origins are diverse, but the following scenarios are most common: Spin-off from a public research organization. Prior to the effective creation of a start-up company, the team is often incubated in source public research organization. Today, entrepreneurship is strongly supported by most governmental agencies. Direct or indirect spin-off from an existing company. When a project is determined to be outside a company’s strategy but the project has strong potential, its champions are sometimes allowed to pursue the project on their own by forming a start-up firm. In such case, the existing company typically retains a stake in the spun-off start-up firm in order to reap a benefit from

Read more

Flash Food of Data

This article is the fourth of a series about knowledge acceleration and fragmentation, after Knowledge Flood and Change Acceleration, Knowledge creation : Globalization and Exponential Growth, and Acceleration of Change. We often read flabbergasting announcements on an incredible growth rate of what is mistaken as knowledge. These announcements come from the Big Data battlefield, and we will take this opportunity to cool down from the excitement of those announcements and return to some clear definitions. Knowledge does not double in less than a day; those who make statements that it is doing so are mistaking knowledge for data, which may indeed be doubling that rapidly. Data should not be confused with information, which is a coherent and meaningful set of data, or

Read more

Acceleration of Change

This article is the third of a series about knowledge acceleration and fragmentation, after Knowledge Flood and Change Acceleration and Knowledge creation : Globalization and Exponential Growth. I assert that continued growth is essential to the rational and empirical character of scientific knowledge. (Karl Popper) Knowledge is expanding at an accelerating rate. Because knowledge and innovation go hand in hand, the rate of innovation is also accelerating. New products and new technologies are reaching the market today at an impressive rate, faster than ever before. The same is true for product life cycles, which are becoming shorter and shorter[1]. Industries that are accustomed to designing product platforms that can support several product generations are struggling to cope with the rapid rate of

Read more

Knowledge Creation : Globalization and Exponential Growth

This article is the second of a series about knowledge acceleration and fragmentation, after Knowledge Flood and Change Acceleration. Globalization of knowledge creation For the first time in 2012, Chinese residents accounted for the largest number of patents filed throughout the world (World Intellectual Property Indicators, December 2013). The Chemical Abstracts Service data (the same data that in the previous article) were analyzed with regard to the geographical origins of the authors. The resulting geographic distribution of each year’s publications is shown in the figure. It appears that the growth deficit observed in the figure during the 1980s was due to the collapse of the USSR and the associated countries pulling out of the knowledge-creation race, presumably temporarily. The most significant long-term

Read more

Digitalization: The Pharmakon of Open Organizations

The first industrial revolution saw the birth of the idea of an enterprise—the same entity we are familiar with today[1]. The creative crucible of the third industrial revolution is in the process of giving rise to a new form of business. I’m talking about “open organizations.”  In this article, I will introduce three characteristics of these open organizations. Last week, while I was in Oslo visiting a client, the receptionist at the hotel asked me if I wished to become a member of their “Club Carlson.” I automatically replied, “No, thank you.” “But, sir, it’s free,” he said, “and on top of that I’ll upgrade your room for free.” I’ll admit, I was seduced, and I agreed to join Club

Read more

Knowledge Flood and Change Acceleration

This article is a first of a series about knowledge acceleration and fragmentation.  Examining the past century, we can see that the rates of both knowledge creation and innovation have accelerated. It is sometimes difficult for people of our time to appreciate the quantity of knowledge that humankind has accumulated throughout history. A mental exercise that may help consists of scanning the inventory of knowledge that forms the basis for modern items such as the mobile phone, the hybrid car, weather forecasting, breast cancer treatment, and so forth. Let us begin with the oral wisdom of our ancestors, and then consider the knowledge of ancient Greek philosophers as Archimedes and Pythagoras, and finally proceed, layer by layer, through knowledge created

Read more

Innovation risk management as a gambling game

“Fail often, but fail fast and cheap” is a well known mantra, often repeated by innovation gurus. However this piece of wisdom is not so easily understood by enthusiastic would-be inventors and innovators. This text attempts to illustrate this somewhat puzzling recommendation and demonstrate by a priori reasons how true, challenging and beneficial it is to fail fast and cheap. 1- Failure as most likely fate for innovation Innovation starts with an original idea, an invention. This idea is new; it sounds great but, as nobody has materialized this idea before, trying to go on with it and generating value implies opening a trail within unexplored territory. Indeed the idea will have to blossom in a context dominated by knowledge

Read more