Friday, August 19
Innovation you could drive a bus through ...
You've heard about Open Innovation. It's a very fashionable concept which is probably somewhere around the "peak of inflated expectations" on the Gartner Hype Cycle. It's a concept with bags of potential, relying mainly on the premise that your business can get better ideas if it opens its doors to selected outside organisations, and GlaxoSmithKline's consumer healthcare division is one of its leading proponents.
My employer is pretty advanced in its Open Innovation thinking too, but I'll leave colleagues to spread that message.
So let's consider for a moment a form of innovation so wide-open that it's gaping, and probably couldn't close-up if its life depended on it?
That's the model for Quirky.com, the brainchild of a rather precocious US youngster who'll could probably have retired at 19! Here's a brief video featuring Ben Kaufman where he explains the evolution of Quirky in his own words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqYeWg7igkU
So in five years, Ben has changed his focus as follows:
1. Passion for product #1
2. Using collaborative invention for product #2
3. Using collaborative invention as product #3
i.e. Ben's product is the process of using the whole world to shrink the time to market down to 3 days. And doing so repeatedly.
Unless there's a whole back-story we're missing, we could all take some inspiration from this story. It appears to me that Ben hasn't resorted to over-sophisticated methods; he's just worked out what it takes to launch a product, then called on the forces of social media to inject some of the thinking.
What can each of our organisations learn from this? All comments gratefully received!