Sunday, January 27, 2013

Is 'open' now redundant?

Just under three years ago, I gave a presentation on the impact of open innovation on the activities of firms within the Cambridge high tech business cluster.  In that talk, I made a throwaway comment about whether we'd one day be able to drop the 'open' bit and just go back to talking about 'innovation'.  Last week, as I was summing up the key learning points from a module on Technology and Innovation Management for some of our MEng students, the same thought struck me again.  As I drew together the key points from each of the sessions we'd covered during the week (the timetable is shown below), almost every theme we covered had 'open' aspects to it. With hindsight  it felt a little bit as though having a session explicitly on open innovation was now a bit redundant.  But I'm not sure whether this is just a bit of Maslow's hammer in my thinking (i.e. I just see open innovation everywhere because that's how I see the world), or whether we really should be thinking - and teaching - less about specific flavours of innovation, and more about appropriate tools for different tasks.