From Co-Creation Trend 3: Control by Jennifer Rice from What's Your Brand Mantra? "There are millions of unpaid volunteers who want to help create products and content that they want to buy. Yes, it means relinquishing some control. But it also means an incredible amount of energy and momentum to the companies who are brave enough to work with it."
Ms. Rice is so right, but in my experience, managers suffer from the "has to be invented here" syndrome, or don't have a clue about new tools that are available to help them find, discover, and implement new ideas. It gets worse, the bigger the company. Confusion and chaos rule, when employees have no outlet for their own ideas. Frustration ensues. "There's a massive, networked conversation going on, and people are joining the conversation for various reasons. People seeking information are meeting up with subject-matter experts. Others are sharing opinions, joining like-minded groups and collaborating on new ideas. Our society is reconnecting itself not by geography, but by interest. It's a meeting of the minds that will spawn a lot of incredible new ideas."
My own experience with the conversation has been working on a new commercial product and service for the last eighteen months with people I've met over the Net. They're from all over the world, speak many languages. Most of them are software developers who contribute to open source software projects. We communicate via the Net using blogs, forums, and IM. Today, they are my friends. We developed credibility through word-of-mouth, so to speakj, where one developer leads to the next one. You move in and out of circles, enriching and contributing where and when you can. These contributions, some monetary, are your currency - your reputation, which gives you access to greater resources.
Seth Godin asks "Are your people like your customers? ... Most organizations want to grow. What happens, though, when your worldview and biases are so different from the places you're hoping to grow?"
The days of slow change are over. In fact, the market place is moving faster than most businesses can adapt. Globalization, deregulation, transparency (AIG lately), aging boomers, and new communications methods are forcing businesses to adapt or perish. With more CEO's gettin' the boot, and private equity (think Circuit City) and hedge funds with tons of cash, change will be swift. What will we be left with?
"Lecture 2: Collaboration", is part of a five part lecture series from Channel 4 of the BBC given by the distinguished engineer, Lord Broers. "These advances involved many people in many laboratories. One model says that ten times the effort needed in the original research must be expended in developing a prototype technology, and ten times this effort is needed to produce the manufactured product. The idea that a single person can 'invent' a new technology, is out of the question in these cases. Creative ideas of course come from individuals but their ideas must fit into the matrix of creativity being generated by individuals and teams all over the world."
With the tools available today, companies can bring their people and others together to collaborate so easily...even if they are on different continents. Yet, so many companies are either not aware of the technology available or perhaps are just not seeing the possibilities of open innovation. We hope to change that.