Sunday, June 13, 2010

How Networking Can Influence The Innovation Stream

Harvard Business Review posted a great article about the differences of an innovator and not. Basically, networking... The company they studied Proctor and Gamble (P&G) discovered that by networking with other firms and individuals their once flat R%D budgets grew... As we studied outside sources of innovation, we estimated that for every P&G researcher there were 200 scientists or engineers elsewhere in the world who were just as good—a total of perhaps 1.5 million people whose talents we could potentially use. But tapping into the creative thinking of inventors and others on the outside would require massive operational changes. We needed to move the company's attitude from resistance to innovations "not invented here" to enthusiasm for those "proudly found elsewhere." And we needed to change how we defined, and perceived, our R&D organization—from 7,500 people inside to 7,500 plus 1.5 million outside, with a permeable boundary between them.

Hard to do? Perhaps it was more than a culture change, but technology that made this change a reality. Instead of the same old email, social networking and project management tools, the company instituted an "open collaboration model". Now, groups of people working on a project could contribute outside of the four walls of the organization... (I wrote a post earlier this week on instant collaboration, a key to success, I KNOW!). I'd argue that it isn't really the tools, but the willingness of a company to really institute a "networking to innovation" culture... I've watched too many start ups NOT do this... They close it off and don't keep it open. Why? Who knows... Any ideas to share?

Thank you to http://www.flickr.com/photos/guiguibu91/2889883615/ for the cool pic!
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