Watch this space: 6 reasons why Open Innovation is happening now


Posted on: Oct 01, 2012 by Paul Albada Jelgersma

When is the last time you watched Sesame Street? I was thinking about a wonderful song that has been going around a long time on collaboration and co-operation. (see Sesame Street - "Cooperation Makes It Happen" - first performance in episode 2040 / March 1985).

It seems that this way of creating new things is already promoted very early in our childhood and part of our collective memory of positive actions.

So, if Open Innovation is about collaboration and co-operation, you would think we should be doing it more often? Well, an upcoming whitepaper by the Atos Scientific Community explores this question and comes to some interesting conclusions.

"…innovation in the 21st Century is increasingly open, collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and global, resulting in greater opportunities, and challenges for traditional R&D approaches."

Apparently there are a couple of changes in the current society that enable Open Innovation to be a more natural way of doing things (together).

Firstly there is the increased pressure on cost and the need to go to the market with new products and services much faster than before; having access to a bigger pool of knowledge without having to invest a lot of time building that same pool, supports the adoption of Open Innovation.

"The key limitation of Closed Innovation is the lack of leverage of external knowledge and expertise in unknown emerging fields for internal innovation processes."

Secondly we now see new business models emerging that allow for support of joint development of new products and services. Previously it was quite difficult to do so, but there are more and more support companies that will take care of the groundwork – Amazon for flexible compute power and SalesForce for flexible marketing activities just to name a few well known examples, but there are multiple other services available that take care of the basic services in a flexible, pay-as-you-go, get-the-size-you-need delivery models.

Number three is better approaches to intellectual property and protection of ownership. This takes away the need to keep things secret and allows for more sharing between companies. In addition the understanding and broader agreement on the different ways in which we can apply Open Source is also helping companies to take a more relaxed attitude towards collaboration.

At number four we see the increased capabilities in social networking and easy communication between different locations and companies. Setting up meetings and long distance virtual teams has become much easier.

"The walls of the enterprise are (therefore) no longer solid; ideas can filter into the innovation funnel via a ‘bi-directional, semi-permeable membrane’."

And at number five we see the increased understanding that each company holds the key to greatness hidden somewhere deep in the fabric of the organization, waiting to be discovered. While at the same time we know that we need a fresh new perspective to get this to the surface and we need the additional intelligence of somebody outside that will make it grow.

Or, probably most of all, at number six, the generation that loved, watched and learned from Sesame Street is now grown up; they know about this great song “co-operation … makes it happen” and are now putting it into action.

====== Update October 4, 2012: The whitepaper is now published and can be found here.

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About Paul Albada Jelgersma

Global Head Atos IoT Solutions and member of the Scientific Community
Paul has over 24 years of experience in running IT and business programs; including managing large teams of IT and other professionals. Paul is a founding member of the Atos Scientific Community. In his day job, he focusses on the strategic partnership between Siemens and Atos, managing the overall innovation process. Paul likes to work with Virtual Teams in the new way of work. He dislikes email as a chat and document-management tool. He occasionally writes articles and publishes at his own blog. Paul is married and has 2 children. He lives near Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He likes to travel. In 2013 he visited Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Many more locations are on his bucket-list.

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