Open Innovation From A Practitioner's Perspective


Open Innovation, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Property Rights

Often when I give presentations on open innovation and network-centric innovation the issue of confidentiality and protection of intellectual property comes up. The message I get from companies around the world is that they are concerned about the level of increased transparency and openness required.

I have heard the same issues many times, including:

* If I identify a need on my corporate website or through a third party platform, will this signal to my competition the importance of that particular problem?

* How can I share enough information about what I am looking for without giving away my secrets?

* Can I trust the person (or entity) on the other end of the transaction?

* How can I prevent my competition from learning about what I’m doing?

There are many ways to answer these concerns, starting with the fact that open innovation requires (actually it demands) that the corporate culture needs to change. Companies must recognize that they do not have all the answers, that they need to embrace ‘proudly found elsewhere’ as opposed to the ‘not invented here’ syndrome that plagues many organizations. In addition, think of open innovation as a dial that you gradually turn as you become more comfortable with this new approach. Many successful companies start by breaking down internal walls and silos, by opening up the innovation process to all parts of the organization. And finally, companies need to realize that not all of what they do is a good candidate for sharing externally. But in my experience there is plenty that can be shared externally without creating unnecessary risk. Risk-taking is required as well, it needs to be managed and without risk there will be no reward.

I personally have seen many companies successfully navigate this issue. And those companies will always be ahead of the pack.


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2 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

    Making Money $150 An Hour

  2. Nigel says:

    Hi Cesar – I have snapped up your description of dimension with a dial that can be turned up in response to increasing level of comfort – what a wonderful tool for visualising something that reaches deep into the collective insecurity of organisations, teams and individuals considering working in partnership.

    Perhaps 15 years ago, I led a workshop trying to move the university where I was then working and a research institute that viewed the University as the principal (and completely unnecessary) competition from ‘scarcity’ mode into ‘abundance’ mode (terms courtesy of Covey). Progress was perhaps 1% though I learnt valuable lessons at that time and in my subsequent interactions with both organisations. Having in the interim run a ‘virtual institute’ model of innovation management in a New Zealand corporate, and now making my daily living by collaborative innovation endeavour, I remain intensely interested in values and wider aspects of culture that enable people to operate with the dial set to ‘full volume’.

    Keep up the blog



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