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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Why not switch to open source innovation?

Just as I was wondering a Joint Innovation Model (JIM), I found this analogous post by Nick Carr in a Linux context. He says

“Of the many thousands of changes that have been made to the Linux kernel over he past three years, fully 73.2% came from employees working on behalf of their companies. (Three companies - Red Hat, Novell, and IBM - accounted for 28.4% of all the changes.) Only 13.9% of the changes came from volunteers without a corporate affiliation, and the remaining 12.9% of changes came from developers whose affiliation is unknown”.

Part of the reason is understandably, loss of control. But the fact remains companies are in denial about the value of open R&D collaborations and stick with in-house innovation models. Indoor initiatives don’t attract creative visionaries and passionate teams. However as R&D budgets come under increasing pressure the cost of control and proprietary development will become unacceptable.

Open initiatives not just facilitate knowledge gathering and application, it helps knowledge brokering. This feature is clearly not available in the traditional silo model. While deep understanding remains valuable, it’s utility is multiplied when blended with information and achievements from outside. It saves a lot of R&D $ since they don’t try to boil the ocean. Just do the incremental bit and bingo, you’re there !

For IP vendors of course, a move in this direction could mean unspeakable nightmare :)

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