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Frontline Innovation The e-magazine presented by World Innovation Forum 2012

1st Edition

Disruptive trends and the latest ideas as told by the most innovative experts in business Exclusive interview on the socioeconomic impact of technology with Clay Shirky An extract from Henry Chesbrough’s Open Services Innovation Three questions with Ken Robinson, an expert on creativity and innovation

And more at

2 Our concept of innovation continues to expand and transform. It is no longer limited to one person or company; innovation is open and disruptive, multi-disciplinary and global. Collaboration is essential and reinforced by rapid, multi-faceted networks of communication: digital, mobile and interactive. Discover in this e-magazine the doers and thinkers who are leading the most exciting industries as well as defining the latest trends in innovation.

Inside this Issue: Exclusive interview with

Clay Shirky them.

A book excerpt from

Henry Chesbrough’s latest

Three Questions with

Sir Ken Robinson

An Explosion of Knowledge An interview with Clay Shirky by Viviana Alonso

More than once he’s been confused for Tom Hanks, which goes beyond just looks to even his tone of voice. Well-accustomed to giving conferences and classes at the University of New York, Clay Shirky enthusiastically discusses the social and economic impact of technology. He believes that since the end of World War II the free time of people habiting the industrialized part of the world has greatly increased, due to longer lifeexpectancy as well as shorter work days. At first the majority of this free time was directed towards the television; however, now much of this time is dedicated to active participation in a culture of sharing created by technology. For the first time in history young generations are spending less time in front of the television than their elders. According to Shirky, the consequences of this trend are where things get really interesting.

people. To give an idea of the magnitude, we believe that, in total, the world population has around two trillion hours in front of the television. It’s true that people also had free time in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, however the difference is that now there is a source of communication that allows for a combination of the efforts of individuals on a global scale. That connection is the second dimension of the cognitive surplus. Software with open source code, for example, allows for thousands of programmers to work on the same problem. The combination of volunteer force on a planetary scale allows for the creation of software of amazing quality. If a dozen people are writing about the planet Pluto they can write something reasonable. However, if hundreds of millions of people are able to contribute the results are extraordinary.

In your latest book you refer to the “cognitive surplus” and its repercussions on contemporary life. How is this phenomena defined?

The majority of participatory projects are coordinated outside of companies, and there are few, like YouTube, that are able to capitalize on this effort. Will others appear?

It is defined as the capacity to use free time to produce and share knowledge in the connected age. This phenomenon has two dimensions. On one hand, the free time of

Businesses have already gotten over the fear of losing control and it’s something of the past. Just five years ago a company would refuse to talk to clients over the internet,


and believed there were just two ways of communication: those that spoke and those that listened. In other words, advertising; clients spoke and companies listened through market investigation. Now clients communicate between themselves and with the company; they criticize products and services freely. Nothing can be done to stop it. The companies that are open to participating in this dialogue are now at a better position to take advantage of voluntary participation. YouTube is actually a chapter apart. Consumers aren’t commenting about products and services that interest them, they are generating uninterrupted content. I don’t think other companies can compete with YouTube because, like Flickr and other sites, the have the great advantage of the economy of scale. However, when we discuss the capitalization of collaboration the issue can be divided into two parts: how to take advantage of the participation of clients and suppliers on one side, and how to transform into a multi-purpose medium of communication on the other. There aren’t many companies in the second group, but it is pretty easy to give incentives for the participation of clients. IGN, a web site specialized in news and reports on video games, asked users to comment on how they would improve

product descriptions, and even went so far as asking them to propose a document with specifications. In little time participants had created a 10-page document detailing the categories and essential information for a good product description. It was as if they had been waiting for the company to ask them.

What alternative methods of social communication exist? Many. One is to be the best compiler of information. The idea here is to gather the largest quantity of content and put it at the hands of the largest group of people possible; an example would be Google News. Other possibilities include creating niche content. In order to achieve this one must have a very high level of understanding of the behavior of users and followers. We’re not talking about mixing a couple of articles on sports, movie critiques, and the stock exchange, but about creating a content site dedicated to each segment. In the third instance, there are people that write absolutely amazingly, and are irreplaceable.

Open Services Innovation:

Rethinking Your Business to Grow and Compete in a New Era By Dr. Henry Chesbrough

less likely to abandon you at a moment’s notice should another company try to lure them away. If you are able to open up your innovation process, you simultaneously increase you own sphere of possibilities and complicate any attempt for others The treadmill of ever more similar products coming to mimic what you’re doing. And if you are creating at an ever-faster pace is a race that very few can and capturing value in new ways, competitors stuck hope to win. And even the winners have to worry in the product conception of their business model that someone else is readying an onslaught that will be slow to understand how you are winning in could knock them off their perch in the next the market. They will have to fight their own battles generation of products. against inertia to respond to your success. Excerpted with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Open Services Innovation: Rethinking Your Business to Grow and Compete in a New Era by Henry Chesbrough. Copyright (c) 2011 by Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint. All rights reserved.

That’s why it is far better to get off that treadmill and run your own race. Rethink your business as a purveyor of experiences to your customers. Invite those customers into your own innovation process, and don’t stop there: open up your innovation process more generally to get the best ideas and technologies from others for your own business model, and let others use your innovations in their business models. If you follow the logic of your new approach, chances are that you will innovate your business model as well, redefining the way that you create and capture a portion of value from your business.

This is the way out of the commoditization trap. It requires a new way of thinking about innovation, services, and business models. The winners in this new economic environment will be those firms that develop strong internal capabilities in a few areas and leverage those capabilities by enlisting the efforts of many others in support of their business. Since the world is moving to a services economy, it is time to move innovation into the services context as well. The world is ready for Open Services Innovation. Dr. Henry Chesbroughoriginated the term “open innovation” and is co-founder of the Open Innovation Community website. He is a professor at the Haas Business School, UC Berkeley and just released his latest book, Open Services Innovation: Rethinking Your Business to Grow and Compete in a New Era (Jossey-Bass).

Your competitors will have a harder time copying your innovations. Because they are based in part on tacit knowledge, they are hard to copy. Because you have included your customers directly in your Henry Chesbrough speaks in WIF NY 2012. innovation, these customers will have invested their own time and self-generated content, making them

Three Questions with…


Sir Ken Robinson Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, Sir Ken Robinson is a specialist in creativity, innovation, and human resources. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies and advised the British and Singapore governments about developing creativity, and is a bestselling author.

1 How do you define the

concept of “creativity”?

There are three key concepts: First, the imagination is the source of creativity, and allows us to bring to our minds all that isn’t directly present in the world around us. With the imagination we can relive the past, anticipate possibilities of the future, put ourselves in another time and place, and empathize with the scenario. All that is distinctively human comes from the imagination, and creativity consists of putting it to work. Another formal definition of creativity is the process of generating original ideas with value, the second key. You can be creative in math, music, art, management, etc. Innovation is the third key, bring good ideas to practice. Many companies are interested in innovation, but it doesn’t happen overnight, before there must be a process of creativity that requires using the imagination. And this is where many organizations and individuals fail: they stop nourishing creativity. 2 How does one go from

imagination to creativity to innovation? Creativity is an applied process, and can exist in whatever industry. For example,

Pixar is in the business of entertainment, Procter & Gamble in consumer products, and the two have very different strategies for innovation. P&G, for example, depends on the collaboration in distinct areas with individual external investigators. To initiative a culture of innovation you must recognize that creative thinker doesn’t come from individuals, it comes from collaboration and the combination of ideas of teams. 3 Interdisciplinary teams are

an important source of new ideas. However, some businesses encourage creativity through free time for employees to investigate whatever they choose. This is an intelligent policy that is usually successful. Discipline is necessary, but rest is also essential in order for ideas to mature. Actually, it is fundamental for ideas to evolve and develop. I’ll give a simple example: when we can’t remember someone’s name, the best thing we can do is not think about it anymore and in thirty-minute it all of a sudden comes to us. Deliberate thinking happens in the front of the brain, but there are also unconscious connections, and many creative ideas are formed there.


Provoke change Shape the future

New York City Center June 20-21, 2012

Ray Kurzweil Mohanbir Sawhney Jane McGonigal Sir Ken Robinson Henry Chesbrough Scott Cook Clay Shirky Russell Stevens Guy Kawasaki Jean-Claude Biver



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Frontline Innovation - March 2012  

Frontline Innovation The e-magazine presented by World Innovation Forum 2012