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Open Innovation

Open Innovation

| On 29, Apr 2008

Michael S. Slocum

When looking for a solution to a problem it is important to identify the acceptable solution space. If an incremental improvement is desired then it is quite likely that the integration of current knowledge in the area of subject matter expertise would be sufficient. In other cases, something more discontinuous may be desired. In this scenario an open approach yields the most desirable results.

Open innovation is practiced when the search space is intentionally increased and redirected based on certain specific techniques (not exhaustive):

(1) Leverage non-subject matter expertise

a.     Add non-SMEs to the problems solving team and utilize techniques designed to solicit their input in an effective manner

b.     Add multiple functional areas to the problem solving team

c.      Add customers to the problem solving team

(2) Search for intellectual property in areas similar to the problem composition but that are also outside the industry/technology in question

a.     The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) has many techniques that may be used to achieve this

b.     Use patent search techniques as well as Patterns of Evolution

(3) Adapt solutions from analogous problems to suit your current purpose

These three items will constitute an effective open innovation approach to problem solving and allow the introduction of discontinuous solutions into the solution space. This increases the effectiveness of problem solving and allows for adaptation.