This is the setting in which 40 ‘innovators’, ratio male/female 80%/20% respectively, average age ≈30 and surprisingly >75% taking notes on paper, dedicated listen to the amiable Henry Chesbrough, who engages his two-day class by raising questions and measure the awareness on Xerox, El Bulli, IDEO, Radiohead, Amazone, Innocentive and disruptive technology by letting them lift their finger.
We are knocking on the door of closed innovation –the era in which everything is invented behind high walls and sharing insight is seen as collaborating with the enemy. Times are changing and we face five erosion factors: 1) increasingly mobile trained workers; 2) more capable universities engaged in industry relevant research; 3) diminished US hegemony; 4) erosion of oligopoly market positions and 5) enormous increase in Venture Capital, where one does not pay for research, but for development. The time of doing everything alone has gone; the future lies in using other people’s minds for your business. It is a must to attract and connect the potential of the outside world to speed up the process, to commercialize and to mitigate risks.
This transition can be compared to the differences between poker and chess. Chess is a game where you have a plan for certain steps ahead; it is comparable to the current business. You play it not to lose, since you know the pieces and their ability. In case of poker one plays to win by using options and having the possibility to walk away, when risks are too high or the revenue is not promising enough. In the beginning the future is uncertain and not all information is known, you must be convinced in the added value to spend additional money and go to the next round. The best strategy is to have insight in the cards of the opponents. Each game you are able to form a team with stakeholders sharing a common interest; reaching the promised value proposition of the business model. Invest in the key relationships, since time is more valuable than money in many cases. Nonetheless, you should be clear on who owns what: before, during and after the relationship.
The way to openness is not an easy road. Robert Kirschbaum from DSM compared his journey to a mousetrap. In mature companies opportunities are seen as problems. Furthermore, the invention is like a flower, but innovation is the demanding weeding process. Or inspired on Darwin’s evolution theory: it is not about the strongest nor the most intelligent, but the most adaptable that will succeed.
The trend now-a-days is a shift from owning (and bearing all the fixed costs) towards having access too (leasing). In this scenario you only pay for what you use. So with 3D printing, one can print on demand, when the customer asks for it, having no worries about inventory or forecast problems. The business is becoming more and more relationship based. Services are critical throughout the value chain. They can be generated through co-creation with customers, resulting in economies of scale which can result in more options and hence in one stop shopping (or even ultimate customization). In the end, this approach is also more sustainable. By leasing out a company has an incentive to make the product or service as sustainable as possible, since their business models benefit from the hours of use. By using Open Service Innovation …checkmate.