Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Open Innovation and Creatives

Maxine Horn wrote an interesting column for Investors Digest titled "Here's What's Wrong with Open Innovation."  In that piece, she argued,

"There is a growing assertion that “ideas” are free and bountiful – with no value until they are commercialized. This devalues the very professionals in the creative industries that firms need. It devalues their talents, education, years of in-practice experience and their knowledge and know-how. We are increasingly leaning to a mistaken view that any one person’s idea is as good as any other person’s. Creatives are being asked to participate with the crowd for work."

Hank Chesbrough of Berkeley, a former colleague of mine from Harvard, wrote a very thoughtful response at   Hank argues that, "Open innovation, properly understood, can actually boost the opportunities for creative people, rather than extinguish them."  He explains that open innovation enables creatives to build "deeper, more meaningful relationships with your audience."   As such, it can fuel new breakthroughs, broaden the market for creatives' work, and nurture a community of fans who will spread the good news about the creatives' products or services.  

I agree with Hank, but I do think that Maxine Horn raises some important points about the value of protecting intellectual property in an appropriate manner.  Moreover, she's right when she says we need more dialogue about the proper ethical guidelines when it comes to crowdsourcing practices employed by many companies.

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