I finished a few days ago this excellent book by Henry Chesbrough (He is also the author of “Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape“. I will have that book with me to read on holidays the second half of this month).
In this book, the author describes his experience in several R&D units and starts his search for a better innovation model. Where most companies we can think of have a practice of “closed innovation”, the author takes us to different examples where the organization has changed the culture to an “open innovation”, where a lot of intellectual property (IP) is shared with a large community of people outside the organization. Some organizations have done the maths: If we have a few hundred specialists in our company and we know that there are thousands of specialists outside our company, where is the most likely place where innovation will happen? So these clever organizations open their innovation and R&D to the outside world: They leverage on the knowledge of more brains than they ever can hire.
I am, by experience, a strong believer that the author is right with the ideas. Putting them in practice is a whole other game. It will require organizations that truelly believe in innovation to think about ways to open IP with the outside world, without jeopardizing the core values of the enterprise. This book and the practices described creates new challenges for todays and tommorows business leaders. Oh and by the way, if you think this does not affect your particular sector or industry, think again: there are three industries: those that have open innovation in practice today, those that are migrating towards open innovation based models and those that will have to follow later :-)
Enjoy the reading!