Innovation has been and continues to be in vogue (and rightly so)... it will be interesting to see how many companies stay the course during the current and future tough economic times. So, as the innovation revolution enters another 'do more with less' phase, not too surprising that another word is showing up with increasing frequency: collaboration.
I've long felt that 'open innovation' is a recession-resistant trend, largely because it really does allow companies to 'do more with less'. While it's not the same as outsourcing, there's definitely a benefit in leveraging external resources in being able to improve your companies R&D efficiency (more innovation at the same expense level, or equal innovation for less investment).
Here are a couple of recent examples of the collaboration dialogue accelerating...
- Jeneanne Rae's BusinessWeek online column A Ripe Time for Open Innovation where she makes the case for open innovation in recessionary times (I'm quoted in this one). Jeneanne makes a good case for why companies that haven't previously embraced open innovation ought to get on board now, for the sake of getting more done through co-development.
- The World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland's 2008 Conference (Jan 08) which had the theme entitled The Power of Collaborative Innovation. It provided some interesting topics including 'competing while collaborating' and 'aligning interests across divides'.
- A new book by C.K. Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan entitled The New Age of Innovation (subtitled Driving Co-created Value through Global Networks). C.K. Prahalad has written seminal books on innovation such as Competing for the Future. In his new book, he writes "The new game is about more efficiency and more innovation". Global collaboration networks are a key part of this new approach.
Are you ready?:
Is your organization easy to access and work with from the persective of external partners?
Are you considered a 'partner of choice'?
Does your culture and do your organization practices support collaboration?
Do you at least consider colllaboration as a path to implementation in your strategic initiatives?
Collaboration has always been important. It's going to become even more important in the challenging period of global competitiveness and change in front of us all.