I had an interesting session in Sao Paulo, Brazil recently when a group of about 40 people listened to my talk based on my book, The Open Innovation Revolution.
Brazil is definitely an interesting place and I appreciate getting the opportunity to develop new perspectives on my global understanding of innovation.
A question got us into a discussion on how companies should engage with open innovation activities. On this, I really try to emphasize that companies should not engage with open innovation until their internal innovation processes work well. Make order in your own house before you bring in the guests.
I have given this advice for almost two years now. I still think it holds true. However, the discussion got me to reflect upon that we are getting nearer to the beginning of the end of the open innovation era. It will still take several years, but as I think more about this I realize that I pick up more and more signs that we no longer need to focus that much on open innovation itself.
One key sign is that companies other than just the open innovation pioneer, Procter & Gamble have reached a level of innovation maturity in which they no longer distinguish that much between their internal and external driven innovation activities. This just melts together and it is simply just called innovation. Not open innovation, co-creation or other fancy words, just innovation. It does, however, have a key external element to it.
Granted, the large huge majority of companies have not yet reached this maturity. Most are not even close. However, we are reaching a tipping point in which the buzz of open innovation will decline and it will do so fast.
This is actually a good thing as this is a sign that open innovation is now accepted as a valid business strategy and that companies focus on actually making this happen rather than just implementing lots of crowd-sourcing initiatives and then justify this as open innovation strategies.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning as open innovation becomes more reality than hype.
Let me re-phrase a great Churchill quote: This is not the end of open innovation. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning as open innovation becomes more reality than hype.
So what will come next? Open innovation will no longer be viewed upon as the most important thing in the innovation community. It is still very important, but it needs to be put into a perspective in which two other elements: fast and global, are just as important. I recently shared some early thoughts on this in a blog post titled Fast, Open and Global – The Future of Innovation.
It would be great to hear your perspectives so please drop a comment…
By Stefan Lindegaard