Friday, February 08, 2008

Unleashing Innovation, the Unplugged Way

In the lexicon of modern-day business, innovation and isolation are firm opposites

A strong lesson that efforts at innovation have taught in recent years is, don't go it alone. In fact, innovation is best done by opening out, inviting fresh perspectives, admitting new participants, and allowing new combinations.

Most of the major new approaches to innovation that have emerged over the past few years - Open Innovation, "Crowdsourcing", Co-creation, User-centric Innovation - embody this more-the-merrier feature. The development of the fabled iPod, Proctor and Gamble's Connect-and-Develop initiative, IBM' s innovation ecosystem and Intel's lablets and corporate venturing approach, Innocentive, the Collaborative drug discovery project , IDEO's design philosophy, IKEA's fabulously successful approach to furniture design, the creation of the Linux operating system, all exemplify one or other of the above approaches in action.

Because these approaches to innovation - Open Innovation, "Crowdsourcing", Co-creation, User-centric Innovation - have a similar principle underlying them, I thought it's a good idea to collect them under one umbrella term - Unplugged Innovation. To better understand why such a new term is needed, and how companies can thrive in this brave new world of unplugged innovation, see my post on the Infosys blog.

This unplugged approach is one central theme that has emerged in innovation over the past few years. There are two more such themes, which I will elaborate on over the next few weeks on that blog.

And so, the lone innovator is firmly a thing of the past. If you want to unleash innovation, unplug it!