New Year’s Resolutions

Dear {subscriber_first_name}

First of all, may I take this opportunity to wish you a happy and successful 2011. If you’re like me you may have made a New Year’s resolution or two at the start of the year with the hope of doing things better in the coming year. Come to think of it, when I reflect on the current state of Open Innovation, I reckon the time is right for some New Year’s resolutions here too.

Open Innovation is increasingly being adopted as the normal mode of operation for leading innovative companies. Open Innovation, applied correctly, offers the opportunity to access leading capabilities from around the world, exploiting complementary technologies and partnerships to short-cut the need for expensive internal activity and to realise innovation strategies faster. However, as with all new things there are more than a few limitations and areas for improvement. In the spirit of making New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve listed a few “I wishes” in the hope that Open Innovation might deliver more for all of us in the next 12 months than it has in the past.

I wish for Open Innovation technology search briefs (such as Nine Sigma “Request for Proposal” documents) which concentrate more on the required functionality in generic terms and less on who the client business is. You can connect far more easily across industries if you talk about generic functions and you really shouldn’t need to be indiscrete to be a successful open innovator.

I wish for smart analysis of a client’s problem situation or technology bottleneck so that the root of the problem can be correctly addressed and the core conflict or conflicts resolved. Often when a problem is defined superficially, the strongest and lowest cost solutions will not be found.

I wish for an approach to Open Innovation which is directed and disciplined rather than random and ad hoc. Given a methodology which systematically leads to a clear understanding of the generic functionality required to solve the problem we can far more easily identify the leading areas of industry and research where this functionality is routinely delivered and well understood.

I wish for Open Innovation where we are prepared to tackle the inevitable follow-on problems which will occur when we seek to integrate a promising new technology solution into our existing products or processes. Many potentially exciting technologies have foundered when faced with the dreaded “yes, but”…

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to make these wishes come true in 2011, click here to find out more about Open Innovation at CoCatalyst.