Sunday, September 18, 2011

Structured Approach to Open Innovation

2011-09-03 14.15.58 Are you looking for ways to preserve and develop your company, organization or new business ideas?

I wrote these thoughts 7.9.2009 and published somewhere. Decided to upload it to Digital Villages today.

The picture is very old: I guess, it was made 1987  or 1989.

It might be a god idea to take a sneak peak into social media environments. 

Sounds strange that something called "open" promises to deliver "innovations" to maximize future profits and helps to build a healthier and more sustainable society.

Working with a structured approach to open innovation, co-creation, and global collaboration.

  • Open (accepting new, different, weird, and outsider participation)
  • Positive (we are attracted to positive working conditions; relaxed atmosphere & learning environment)
  • Environment (open, positive, relaxed, humor, emphatic, supporting sustainable)
  • Natural (organic evolution of collaboration; command and control doesn't work anymore)
  • Innovation (new elements or aspects are needed to motivate collaborators like social attraction)
  • Nomadic (social, technical, cultural mobility; open innovation brothers and sisters)
  • Global (open culture to reach global markets through co-creation and collaboration)

Crazy Creative Finns are accepting and adapting new working cultures to enhance Open Innovation. Social media, microblogs, wikis, basecamps, nings, photo, video & podcast galleries, and blogs are used to replace traditional meeting rooms and seminars.

Innovators and entrepreneurs are networking and collaborating to improve the profitability of product development and service design.

  1. Industrial products, innovations, and services are always invented and created in narrow subcultures (laboratory, R&D department, research institute, corporation). "Market Penetration" is followed by "Dedication" and finally we move towards "Saturation" if we are able to break out from the subculture and get a broader acceptance for our invention(s).
  2. Social media can be used to "socialize" or adapt a new invention, product + service to a new culture, national market or subculture.
  3. Social engineering can be used to understand the differences of a product development subculture and the new environment where we want to adapt it.
  4. NIH is a valid reaction. If we don't socialize and adapt our product or service to the new market, culture or environment, the "not invented here" (NIH) is a predictable, valid, and understandable reaction.
  5. Service design is a practical tool for personalization of a product + the service promise to a new culture, country, user / market segment.
  6. Open Innovation is a cost effective way of producer - consumer - client service improvements. If we don't do the "prosumer adaption" we should expect product rejection comparable to hearth transplant rejection.
  7. Open source software development takes us to a new product adaption layer. Programming is very complex in a closed environment and "open development" leads to even bigger challenges.
  8. Personalization is needed for industrial processes and consumer gadgets. It's the core of customer orientation, but we tend to think that customers should adapt to our [the producers] needs.
  9. Many to many networking is effective and productive only if we have a clear and structured strategy for our participation. If not, Social Media leads us to an endless loop of discussions that won't take us anywhere. Worst case of social media is talking, talking, talking into eternity - but no tangible results.
  10. Ethernet is a starting point for data collection in a "thing links" environment where we need clear goals or are alternatively drowned into a stormy sea of data that can't be interpreted.
  11. Values and goals are important tools in information society solution developments. We need them to control where we are, and where we are heading.
  12. Don't accept social media as an endless talking mechanism. It can be transformed into a structured productivity tool for all kinds of organizations.

Open Innovation and Co-creation isn't limited to face to face activities within the traditional organization. Digital technology empowers us to do things with collaborators living in other countries and cultures.

Are we slowly moving towards a global networking business development?

  • No physical seminars (they key is participation and sharing)
  • No physical meeting rooms needed (virtualization of collaboration)
  • No organization charts (we create in ad-hoc open environments with people we never met before)

Killing me softly

Killing me [my company] softly with no innovation can be defended by opening the gates for multitalented crowds to participate and share their ideas, experiences, and skills. We're moving towards open door creativity where customers, clients, and partners have a central role in the design of killer applications and sustainable business ideas.

As we know, goals play a huge factor in personal and business success. Look at the most successful people in business and industry. Do they set goals? They do, but what are the goals we've to set for the future sustainable future development of Europe and a more peaceful world.

Opening Europe

The economic conditions in Europe, on the globe, and this country [Finland]  is presenting challenges for many traditional industries and enterprises. The post-depression marketplace will undergo dramatic changes and many industrial enterprises are downscaling to adapt.

  • car manufacturing has to reduce capacity
  • forest industry, pulp and paper are downscaling in Europe
  • the mobile gadgets industry is not growing like in the past, new products and services are needed
  • music industry has to adapt to Internet as a distribution and marketing channel
  • engineering, construction, building, renovation markets are facing financing challenges
  • the possibilities of growth are in Russia, China, India, South America, Asia...

The mobile phone was the big Finnish break-through in the 90's. We're now ready to launch the next big thing - open innovation, co-creation and collaboration on a global scale - as a method for new wealth creation. Sounds strange that something called "open" promises to deliver "innovations" to maximize future profits, but continue to challenge and motivate your organization to move towards:

  • participation
  • sharing of ideas and concepts
  • provide open access to new ideas and opportunities
  • collaboration and co-creation are attitudes for more cost-effective change management
  • become a part of a much larger groups (crowdsourcing and multitalented problem solving)
  • we've to be open minded, learn to use open platforms, and have to be ready to take risks

The wisdom of the crowd is needed

Globally, water consumption increases at more than twice the rate of population growth. There will be a shortage of Water, Money, Oil and Energy in many parts of the world.  A workforce of several hundred millions is waiting for whatever jobs available. If cheap energy helped fuel the boom in China and India, then a vanishing supply of fresh water will apply the brakes in the near future.

  • Could open innovation play a role in solving these problems?
  • Military power and command control isn't the only way towards democracy
  • We ca do serious business with social media, but for proper use we need to re-think and re-engineer the way we used to work within the safety of four walls of the traditional organization in the past
  • Is the management ready?
  • How about the individuals?
  • What will the corporate lawyers say?
  • The company's security manual isn't written for open global collaboration

Digital Documentation and Distribution

I like to give some examples where "Open Innovation and Collaboration" has been applied unconsciously. The first one is about a Power plant where the user started to use different biomass compositions to avoid the mixing procedure of peat, bark, wood chips, sawdust, planning residues. The mixing would be an additional work and require more storage space. The supply of biomass isn't stable and consistent either.

The power plant owner and operator started to burn unmixed residues and to make manual adjustments. The supplier learned about the new evolution and ideas about programming and the use of machine vision to determine what residues were delivered to the heating plant. PLC Logic changed rotation speed of burning chamber and the air supply increased the efficiency of the process.

This is a "prosumer" [produce and consumer] collaboration example resulted in a better operational practice through a trial and error process. The plant owner and manufacturer were in continuous contact and by accident they learned about the unconventional operation and as a result they were supporting the development of a more practical operational model. The manufacturer is now able to deliver turnkey plants with multiple biomass species.

A tightly regulated and controlled power plant operation according to specifications would have taken a much longer time to evolve. It's not a good idea to play by the books and agreements. Innovations are born when people start to work without the operating manual or agreement.

There will be more examples later: IKEA, Unicode, Big projects...

Helge V. Keitel


helgekeitel at

+ 358 50 309 2021

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