Open Innovation is more than just Crowdsourcing


Like every management technique, Open Innovation has its critics (a sign you have arrived perhaps?).  The majority of the hindsight in this instance likes to trumpet that OI is not gaining enough traction in industry due to a high failure rate and lack of measurable return on investment.

This week on Business Insider (“The New—And More Profitable—Way To Look At Open Innovation“, 7/13/11), Michael Richard Jackson Bonner of Hypios, a problem solving consultancy located in France, says that OI has lost its luster but that by analyzing its shortcomings one can realize its appropriate value.

But something’s not completely kosher in his thesis.  Forgetting the fact that I am (admittedly) irrationally suspicious of anyone with four names, you first have to realize that the article’s author only seems to equate Open Innovation with Crowdsourcing.  On that point, he is very right that crowdsourcing’s biggest obstacle to practicality is having adequate filters for sorting the signal to noise ratio of the data that flows in from customers and other outside influences.

But OI has far more dimensions, with Technology Scouting, patent licensing, contest-based innovation, all still just scratching the surface.

He does correctly state that OI is more about culture change than a new way of doing R&D, but his other criticisms don’t seem to hold enough water outside of the crowdsource angle.

But what do you think?  Is Open Innovation at risk of going the way of quality circles and TQM or is it here to stay in one incarnation or another?

For more info on other types of OI, read:
How is Open Innovation like throwing spaghetti on the wall?

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