Thursday, April 7, 2011

Things which don’t exist in a lab

Just think about it, by the time you finish having your coffee, at least 10 new research papers would have been completed, by somebody somewhere in this world. Each would have taken their authors anywhere between 3-12 months. Some of this research, probably, addressing the very problem your company is dealing with.

Unlike the goods which get manufactured, a research item, many a time, does not have a predefined audience or an intended buyer. Being a product of academicians or sometimes just personal passion, there may not be any plan or effort to commercialize it, hence obviously it may not show up in a marketplace.

The story is the same for ideas, innovations, work-arounds or solutions, which constantly get created round the clock. The environmental conditions, passion or the necessities, under which these happen is impossible to replicate in any organised lab. In fact, some of these factors, can never exist in a lab.

This is the space where innovation intermediaries and technologies like semantic and business intelligence operate. It is possible today to monitor conversations about your interests in different parts of the world and reach out to someone who could have the solutions that your company is searching for. It is possible today to reach out, to people across continents or even in your own neighborhood, yet unknown, using the services of intermediaries.

‘Innovation’ is fast turning away from an ego centric mindset, where it must come from within a company, to just another on demand plug in, which empowers the real goals of the organization.
In turn, the in-house labs are becoming more versatile, busy, and are churning out innovation faster with the help of collaborative innovation.

Speed of innovation is the need of the hour, in this fiercely competitive world.

1 comment:

  1. Madhu Mani made excellent points. It is true that we need a new model of collaborative innovation in the current global environment. I have not had an opportunity to participate in any collaborative effort on Ideaken so far. I had participated in proposing solutions to two separate problems in another collaborative problem solving platform. I spent nearly one hundred hours on the projects. One of the seekers thanked me for an excellent presentation and description of several alternative solution but felt some problems unique to them in implementing any of the alternative solutions. The other seeker withdrew the problem after reviewing the solutions.
    I see several problems in this method. Solvers neither know who the seeker is nor have a good idea of the circumstances surrounding the problem. There are hundreds (in one or two cases even thousands) of responders registering to solve a problem. Since the solvers do not know who the seekers are, it is very difficult to follow if intellectual property is usurped in the long term. If a solver is under a time and material type of contract, the seeker would pay for the effort regardless of the solution. I believe that we need a new model.
    At a minimum, the solvers should be compensated for submitting reasonable solutions. There may be a multilevel solution approach. Preliminary solution approaches may be anonymous. Thereafter, direct communication between the seeker and several selected solvers is needed.