Saturday, May 28, 2011

Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing

There is a great HBR article on how habits and rituals are the way successful people succeed - not will power. It talks about the limits of willpower just like Chip and Dan Heaths book Switch talks about.

Ran a 5 K race today. Oppressively hot and humid (for me). Discouraging time (24:02)

Garden is doing well. Asparagus, chives and sorrel are all done for the season. Rhubarb, strawberries, lettuce, and parsley are all thriving (although the rhubarb needs a couple of years to really get big). I do not even particularly like rhubarb but I do remember fondly the huge rhubarb we grew when I was growing up. My father grew the best in the county. He claims the secret is to add manure in the late winter right on top of the snow. I am sure my blog readership mostly reads this for my gardening tips (or will now)


I read a great book - A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing. It is a collection of 25 articles edited by Paul Sloan.

I like article books since you can pick them up for a few minutes and return to them easily later. I know two of the authors - Braden Kelly and Andrea Meyer. The blog with me at World Innovation Forum. Not surprising they would write articles on innovation.

First we need to define Crowdsourcing (even though the book defined open innovation first which is the flow of ideas in and out of the organization as opposed to just within it).

"Crowd Sourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by an employee and outsourcing it to an undefined larger group in the form of an open call"

To make the process work well, the project needs to be well defined. The problem description is key. And the communication process needs to be well oiled.

Much of the challenge in implementing OI is the fear of change and the "old" systems that are in place already. Most companies have a fear of letting trade secrets out the door. Many companies think if they did not invent it inside their company, it is not good.

The obvious advantage of OI is the larger number of views that can focus on the problem. Different perspectives are often great in solving any problem. When someone is too close to the problem, sometimes the fail to see the best, simplest or most obvious solution.

And of course there is an article on Intellectual Property rights. This alone might scare some companies off.

I could summarize each articles but that would defeat the purpose of the blog. Read the book to get the rest.

I love crowdsourcing but have some worries that we may end up trying to commodicise (its my new verb - to make into a commodity) innovation. Although this is problem for those trying to innovate, this is not why I worry about it. I worry that we may end up in a world where no one takes the time to truly think in depth about things. I know I already have that problem. I cannot remember the last time I spent full focus time for 3 hours at a time.

Crowdsourcing dramatically increases the value of analysts - the ones who can define the problem.


At 3:17 PM, Anonymous David K. Waltz said...

You mentioned the HBR article about habits and rituals, this was also a topic in a book called "The Happiness Advantage" that I read, that habits and rituals are deeply ingrained in us and if you want to develop good habits you need to make it easy to do - the authors example was playing the guitar every day - when it was in the closet he only did it a couple days, when he tried again later with it on a stand in his living room, he played it every day. By making it easier by a matter of 20 seconds (going to the stand vs. going all the way into the closet) he developed a positive habit.


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