I have been a constant reader of Stefan’s blog (www.15inno.com) and occasional contributor as he does have the habit of getting the juices flowing on different observations as he continues to turn his site into a global network of open innovation stakeholders. Stefan has a real passion for open innovation and this book is a natural step for him to take.
Firstly, the book is timely. Open innovation is as topical as you can get at this time, with many organizations struggling to put this fully together, so it is on something that will be relevant to many.
The book has got an easy style to it, it does flow from the blog often pulling together a lot of what Stefan has been discovering and commenting upon so far, in his own open innovation journey, so for many it may not be introducing much that was not known but it is organised in a way that provides a practical guide to the way to go about organising for open innovation in one handy reference book. Stefan organises the book by tackling three key factors- the essentials, the roadblocks and the leadership needed for open innovation.
The book provides an excellent range of case studies, interviews, observations…
The book provides an excellent range of case studies, interviews, observations that can get ‘frozen in time’ but you can take one of two routes here at reflecting upon this approach. We suffer far too much from a lack of case studies and insiders knowledge and by taking this approach it ‘fleshes out’ many of the barriers and stumbling blocks to the management of open innovation that are really helpful to signal to others and hope they avoid or minimise. Of course you can alternatively shrug your shoulders and say this will not happen to me but as you will inevitably come up against many of these common problems you can certainly see that you are not alone and can refer back to the part within the book to understand the why a little better.
The book is certainly not heavy on theory, I think Stefan believes that ‘open’ should stay open and should not be boxed in, as you can miss some of your own potential to give your organizations open innovation initiative some uniqueness and attraction. A far too prescriptive route would be wrong; you cannot apply someone else’s solution to your own unique situation and expect the same results, as it is a little harder than just copying someone else. It needs each entity to work on its own answers to open innovation in their distinct own way, providing of course they follow some of the basics that are well outlined in this book and in other references.
This part of the book has some helpful tips to help you navigate through this as networking…
It is not surprising that the leadership aspects for open innovation take up a higher amount of the content of this book. It draws everyone into leadership by presenting it as ‘personal leadership’ that we are all being asked to take on increasingly, as this personal leadership irrespective of what we are working upon is part of the new deal in working in more open ways. This part of the book has some helpful tips to help you navigate through this as networking, trust and relationships for open innovation become so critical to have clear in any open collaborative approach. I think this whole area of personal leadership in an ever increasing open society is going to be developed as a theme more and more, and Stefan helps raise this up in its growing importance in his book.
A small criticism is the chapter (chapter 4- first things first) on the discussions on the mandate for open innovation, the innovation strategy and purpose, establishing a common language and being innovative might have benefitted from more illustrations of cases and greater discussion. The very point that Stefan makes here is you only get one-and-a-half chances to do this right and as this is so essential to be clear, it is often underappreciated and not resolved well. I would have liked to see this chapter expanded a little more as these points are really essential to get right.
The end chapter (chapter 18- Everything in one easy place) is excellent. It really does give you a planning structure and summary of the different milestones you need to check against in your personal journey along the open innovation road.
…it´s a timely, relevant book…
So The Open Innovation Revolution is a timely, relevant book, it is written in the here and now, for the here and now. Open innovation will continue to evolve but having a helpful guide like this today does ensure the open revolution does continue and with Stefan through his consistent blogging, will continue to encourage it along I am sure.
By Paul Hobcraft