Not speaking your language?

Innovation Management ? IBM Opens Lid On Its Treasure Chest

IBM, which registered 3248 patents last year, has decided that sharing technology can sometimes be more profitable than jealously guarding its property rights on patents, copyrights and trade secrets (Herald Tribune, April 11 2005).

International Business Machines have come to the above conclusion 205 years after the invention of electric light ? thus clearly illustrating that even the 19th largest company in the world (fortune.com) with a market capitalization on $141 billion (nasdaq.com) is still only learning about creativity and innovation.

Of course the issue of control is important but a quick history lesson indicates that the above should not have taken so long!

The first electric light was made in England by Davy, in 1860 Swan attempted to devise a long lasting light using carbon paper, in 1877 Brush lit up Cleveland Ohio and in 1879 Edison began work on a practical light bulb that would eventually glow for 1500 hours.

Recently, Linux ? open source software developed through collaboration on the Internet ? has grown to the extent that it is closing in on Microsoft's market share (news.com).

The above two examples indicate a number of factors about creativity and innovation that IBM should have learned a long time ago, some of which include:

a) Creativity (problem identification and idea generation) and innovation (idea selection, development and commercialisation) can take years and use huge resources ? collaboration, networks and shared tacit knowledge rapidly reduce investment and rapidly increase speed to commercialisation.

b) Radical changes result from incremental improvement.

c) Radical shifts require the input of new knowledge.

d) New knowledge and incremental improvements result from eliciting tacit knowledge from a broad knowledge base.

e) New knowledge and incremental improvements result from eliciting ideas from a number of sources, a number of diverse sources and a number of novel sources ? by utilising networks.

f) New knowledge and incremental improvements result from eliciting ideas from a number of sources, a number of diverse sources and a number of novel sources ? through collaboration.

In conclusion, the probability of producing world changing innovation in-house is low. The knowledge pool is simply too shallow. And that can be said without considering motivation, group structures etc etc etc.

This topic is covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com. You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.

Kal Bishop, MBA


You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.


Top 10 Things NOT To Tell Angel and VC Investors

I am not writing this to create a list of things not to say so people can hide the facts or in any way mislead... Read More

Group Discussion Guidelines

DISCUSSION METHODS: There are two basic types of discussion methods; the conference method and the workshop method. The conference method involves meetings of staff members,... Read More

Plan for Business Success - 6 Reasons to Succession Plan

Succession Planning provides many valuable assets to your business. Yet it is easy to do, with a game plan. Here are some reasons why the... Read More

Satisfied Employees, A Powerful Marketing Strategy

Even in today's still uncertain economic times, there are companies who are doing extraordinarily well. Why is it that some companies are thriving while others... Read More

Innovation Management ? Selecting Good Ideas

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation. There are distinct processes... Read More

A Fast and Simple Way to Update Your Business

You open your computer, the flashing button says, "We have a new update for your software program. Do you wish to update now or later?"... Read More

Conference Calling Can Save Your Sales OrganizationTime and Money!

Conference calling can save you money. There is no doubt that in the sales business, every second counts. Whether it be training, sales meetings, or... Read More