Back in the late 1990’s, Procter & Gamble CEO A. G. Lafley observed that the company’s focus on internal R&D was no longer effective for anything more than incremental improvements – and certainly not sufficient to drive double-digit percentage growth in their business. Looking toward Silicon Valley where the open source movement and a spirit of collaboration and partnership had accelerated the pace of innovation to a rate that crushed anything P&G could muster, Lafley made a radical decision – to de-emphasize the old “internal innovation” model and open the doors to external ideas, partnerships, and technologies.
The result was P&G’s Connect and Develop program – the first step in a movement that has swept through global corporations and fundamentally transformed the way companies create new products. That movement is now known as Open Innovation, and, like open source, it embraces the notions that outside ideas are at least as valuable as internal R&D and that sharing innovations can lead to better, more profitable products. As Lafley later put it, “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… We needed to move the company’s attitude from resistance to innovations ‘not invented here’ to enthusiasm for those ‘proudly found elsewhere.'”
Today this philosophy is known as “Open Innovation” and it represents the most significant development in innovation management in the past fifty years. OI practitioners employ social media, knowledge management, crowdsourcing, and enterprise collaboration tools to source new ideas and synthesize them into disruptive new products. They benefit from many of the recent innovations emerging from Silicon Valley, but lament that many of these solutions don’t fully address their needs. They are constantly seeking out new solutions and are willing to invest significantly in tools that help them.
open2012, Maven’s upcoming conference at the Computer History Museum on December 11th, 2012, seeks to bridge that gap. open2012 will bring leaders of the Open Innovation movement to Silicon Valley to highlight their successes and discuss areas of pain. The event will feature keynote addresses by Venture2 and Procter & Gamble, Open Innovation case studies by Intel, Strategyn, Boston Consulting Group, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, panel discussions including Roche, SAP, Agilent, Wrigley, GSV Capital, and Citi Ventures, and company presentations by BrightIdea, NetBase, Spigit, Inno360, competIQ, and many more.
The conference provides an opportunity for R&D professionals, entrepreneurs, VC’s, and attorneys to learn more about how they can utilize OI tools and best practices to advance their products and profit from the OI movement by developing new solutions to drive future innovation.
VentureBeat readers receive 25% off conference passes. Click here to register and receive the discount.
[image credit: nbry.wordpress.com]