The Challenge and Opportunity of Open Innovation – p1

Open innovation has been defined as the exploitation of both internal and external knowledge to accelerate the process and expand potential commercialisation of innovations (Chesbrough et al, 2006). It can be traced back to Silicon Valley tech start-ups in 80’s and 90’s, where superior R&D budgets of organisations like Xerox and Bell Labs were unable to compete with resource deficient smaller businesses. Studies into these anomalies noted a more collaborative/open approach to innovation was evident, this has now become an excepted norm regards general management and strategy within many technical businesses, especially software (Gassman, et al, 2010).

Organisations becoming concerned where the next innovative idea will come from have begun to explore the option of open innovation and crowd-sourcing. Some organisations are concerned with venturing into an entirely new innovation process. Others did not fully appreciate the risks, or opportunities, engaging external resources with innovate. Open innovation principles stem from classic innovation principles such as idea generation and selection (Campbell, 1965). As with all processes, success relies on implementing suitable methods to organize, monitor and manage progress.

Organisations understand of the potential for idea-generation through the open innovation as one of the significant advantages: the sheer volume of prospective ideas. As organisations’ main experience of cultivating ideas is internal; open innovation has been used build high-quality ideas banks. Rather than being constrained to the finite number of employees to produce ideas for existing problems, external experience and intelligence could be utilized. The logic is simple: if anyone can provide solution ideas, the statistical principle is, the more ideas generated, the better the quality of the best one is likely to be. The advantage to casting the net widely to capture significant quantity of ideas may mean the average the quality of ideas falls; yet the possibility of one to be spectacular is greater.

Secondly, lesser-known advantage of open innovation is that the value of ideas generally increases with the level of variability. Studies found organisations believed only employees possessing the industry and strategic knowledge could judge on validity of ideas. Yet opening idea-selection process externally could generate significant value, harnessing distinctive expertise and perspectives, in selecting most successful ideas.



Campbell, D.C. (1965) “Variation and Selective Retention in Socio-Cultural Evolution,’’ in “Social Change in Developing Areas: A Reinterpretation of Evolutionary Theory,” ed. H.R. Barringer, G.I. Blanksten and R.W. Mack (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Schenkman Publishing, 1965).

Chesbrough, H.W., West, J. and Vanhaverbeke, W. (2006) Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gassmann, O., Enkel, E. and Chesbrough, H. (2010), The future of open innovation. R&D Management, 40: 213–221. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9310.2010.00605.x


Trust Yourself

Do you ever sometimes feel that things just don’t feel right? I’ve just read an article based on someone’s interview experience and it really got me thinking how often we ignore these with our conscious mind yet our unconscious is tapping us on the shoulder.

Only after reflecting on the events with someone else did he notice the obvious maybe we all need to talk things though so we can see how we really feel.


Is the Team Leaning to the Left or Right?

Over the coming weeks I will be looking at how teams are, or aren’t, formed. I am sure most of you will know of the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, if not I am sure I will post something about the theory in the future.

In many situations we will find ourselves having to work in teams and if we are to believe most of the commentary on the future of the workplace, we will forced into many short-term teams to deliver a specific outcome. The team will then be disbanded in order to form news teams.

Tuckman’s model works well as an academic theory but what if the team is unbalanced. Initially, I’m not looking at when one or more members of the proposed team are disengaged with the anticipated outcome this will come later. What I would like you to consider is the “sidedness” of each individual members thinking. No, not their political bias!

Is the group more left or right brain focused?

This can be described simply:

Left                              Right

A: Facts                       C: Future


B: Form                        D: Feelings

(I shall put a proper drawing in later)

If you have a team where the left is dominant then you may find that spark and creativity are stifled as there will be a reluctant to take the leap of faith required to make a significant change. Conversely, if the dominant view is right side biased the team may run away with ideas without grounding or little substance leaving the entire team in jeopardy.

Both options ultimately result in the team never reaching the desired outcome or if they do it will be after a considerable number of failures or a significant extension to the deadline as all potential risks  need to be considered be planned for. I am in no doubt that we have examples of this is our lives, projects that over run by years or are on time and deliver very little in the way of benefits.

How do you avoid being caught in the paralysis of the left-right brain struggle? First thing to do is take a step back and have a look at how the team thinks. Are they left focused or is it a right leaning team? Who has the power to within the team, is it the push forward into the future or put the brakes on as I still have questions? Remember the biggest hurdle to overcome is your own bias, if you don’t what that is yet maybe that is where you should focus your time.


Getting Things Under Control

Do you ever feel like your life has gotten out of control? Some days, it’s easy to feel that way and we’ll all feel that way some days.

No matter you set goals, how hard you visualize results and affirm a positive outcomes, every once in a while your going to feel like life’s has one off the rails. Carefully laid plans in tatters. People you relied on, abandon you. A health or family crisis, a financial surprise or an earthquake puts you back to square one.  Suddenly you feel as if you’re out of control, and lost at sea.

At times like this, there are a few things it may help you to remember. First of all, no one can control every aspect of his or her life, and adversity comes to all of us, no matter how moral we are, and no matter how good our attitude is. Bad things happen to good people all the time.

Second, it’s important to realize that there is one and only one thing in life that is completely within your power to control, and that is your response to what happens to you. When you find yourself overcome with feelings of fear, helplessness, doom and gloom, you can put the brakes on these feelings by gently but firmly choosing to shift the focus of the thoughts that are running through your mind.

Your feelings are a direct result of the thoughts you think, and setting aside some time every morning and evening for positive visualization, affirmation, or guided meditation is a highly effective way of getting these thoughts back under your control again. Try it. You will be surprised at just how well it works.