The Future State of Open Innovation


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Paul Hobcraft, the #3 guy on the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2012 list, recently asked me about my opinion on the future state of open innovation.

I think his questions can fuel a great discussion so here I share his mail and at the end of this post, you can find some of my thoughts on this.

This is what Paul wrote:

“I fear, that OI has moved on. It has closed down in many ways and been superseded by broader community platforms. This is a worry as many of the corporate champions feel they have extracted the ‘juice’ from the known OI and are exploring different collaborative models. This means we are entering a fragmenting and searching time, arguable this is a maturing state, going beyond OI.

Increasingly I see platform innovation becoming the future and are we getting caught up in the rapidly diminishing past of OI, as it stands today? Are we in real danger of looking in the rear view mirror while the need is to keep our eyes on the road ahead. But can we see the signs pointing us to this road ahead? Or are we stuck on the same road, simply looking in the mirror watching as we attempt to get away from others behind us?”

Evolution like this is a good thing. I really believe that the future winners of innovation are those that make (virtual) communities work. This is a natural development of the physical ecosystems that drove open innovation at the earlier stages. Platform innovation, which can be used internally as well as externally will be a powerful element of community-driven innovation.

External input is key. No one really cares about open innovation per se. What really matters is how companies get more external input into their innovation processes in order to bring better innovation to market faster. There is no need to get caught up in semantics.

Open innovation as a term is disappearing. Open innovation is a buzzword, and we are not even going to use the term in 5-7 years time. It will merge together with this term: innovation. If we have in mind that innovation is difficult to define, then it actually becomes perfect for constant evolution like this. One of the key differences between innovation as we know it today and innovation in the future is that we will have a much higher degree of external input to it.

Most corporate innovation champions are playing catch up. To be honest, we lack visionary innovation leaders and champions. Too often, they are playing catch up rather than trying to make their organization competitively unpredictable by using the innovation toolbox. If some are already moving ahead of open innovation, this is actually a good sign that they are getting more progressive and more committed to experimenting with their innovation processes. But most are still catching up…

What are your thoughts on this?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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