Saturday, June 13, 2009

“But in our business, we don’t need to innovate a lot”

… said a new friend I made at a recently concluded Silicon India conference, he was responding to my explanation on ‘open innovation’ term.

Opening up obviously provides more ideas, more resources, more everything. However ‘more’ is only an approach, not the end result. When you open up for innovation, what you are after is the right idea and the right skills to orchestrate the innovation you are after, at the right time and for a right price.

The right innovation, ground breaking or just common sense, is what you need, and you may not need too much of it, or too frequently. Open innovation can get you that just one innovation with the help of magnitude of resources around the world. One doesn’t need to be a bulk buyer! But why mind a wider option to choose from!

On hearing the word “buyer”, the next question my new friend asked … “Isn’t it like open source software … free?”

Open innovation might be little like open source software when it comes to the making of it, but not the same when it comes to usage. You might still get few ideas for free, but not forever. Easier way is to not compare it with the open source software, because open innovation gets the word ‘open’ for crossing your walls and opening it up to wider resources for getting your innovation done, and not for distributing or using it for free.

Cheap maybe, but not free is open innovation.

Yes, your business may not need to innovate lot, or at least that’s what you think for now! either way innovation can become addiction and this one is a good one.

Just as innovation is the lifeline for multinationals, it is for a one person business, a newly found means “open innovation” walks the same path.


  1. Yes, people are skeptical as to whether they need innovation at all. Mostly, it is because of a belief that (a ) it is a complex thing which they will not be able to handle, and ( b ) it involves taking risk with your money. Actually, open innovation transfers both these fears to someone else. In most idea-brokering services, you pay only for the ideas you wish to use. By logic, it takes both the stings out of innovation.
    Of course, open innovation should be used as an add-on and not entirely by itself.

  2. I agree the the later 2 comments!

    Related to this might be that innovation is seen as overly glamorous...people associate it with a level of radicalness seen in the likes of Apple, Google, Toyota etc. So smaller companies think if that is innovation, then they cant do it and don't need it.

    What they don't know is that they are probably innovating every day - its just not that obvious - and they could be doing it far more effectively if they actually recognized this and became more proactive and structured in doing so.