The long road to full open innovation. Part 1: Tales from the golden age of closed innovation
October 2, 2012 Editor 0
A tongue-in-cheek history of our favorite paradigm
This new series offers a not-so-serious history lesson about the difficult birth of open innovation and its little brother crowdsourcing. It is a long story to tell, so we have divided it into five little parts: From the golden age of closed innovation, cash-carrying guinea pigs, Mr. Chesbrough’s famous thoughts, users to the lead all the way to open innovation to the fullest.
As we hope that you enjoy the ride we also suggest that you look out of the window once in a while to find out how far along the road your company has come.
My company is my castleCastles of Closed Innovation
Everyone knows that all companies around the world follow the same old tradition: we build, you buy. All companies, you might ask?
Well, dear reader, follow us back in the mists of the dark 20th century, when it was safe to say that in fact almost all companies in manufacturing came up with their own nifty ideas, transformed them in to terrific products in their own R&D facilities, produced them in their own steaming factories and finally released their products into the wild rivers of the distribution channels. To keep brief: A company was a castle, and it shall be protected with mighty walls built of occult company secrets and frightening patents.
Xerox the Great and other tales
During the rule of the merciless not-invented-here syndrome, companies sought protection from mysterious foreign technologies that would regularly jam their precious printers, mess up their sleek assembly lines and cheat in the beloved KANBAN card trading game.
Just listen to the story Mr. Chesbrough likes to tell: It was back in the days of the golden age, when Xerox the Great was not content producing its own toner, its own copy-machines and its own light bulbs. No, something just didn’t feel right with this odd paper the kingdom had been buying from some silly strangers. Thus, it was decided that it was best to make, not buy, and henceforth only Xerox paper was to be used within the extensive realms of Xerox.
No one dared to question the superiority of proprietary standards or the fact that companies always knew best what their customers want. It was not until the raging battle of the format war was over, while Sony was busy licking its wounds that a few bards would sing of the grave importance of investigating customer needs before going to war with a new product.
As you might have already expected, these days were as golden as they were numbered: the information age began to besiege the corporate fortresses, and as the reinforced masonries fell one by one, the logic of the closed innovation became as outdated as the infamous mullet. Next up, follow the road to the infamous customer labs…
Categories: Open Innovation
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