Tag Archives: Open Innovation

“Virtual Reality” Meetings

My sketch of a next-generation environment. Experience is the same whether you enter the physical room or from a device.

My sketch of a next-generation environment. It looks the same when you enter physically or digitaly from any device.

You might remember second life and shudder. However there were things about it that were compelling and the future is going to see a rise again of virtual reality settings. However like anything old that is new again they never quite come back in the same way (think bell bottoms).

The new virtual worlds will be streamlined for everyday use – assisting in conducting the remotely held boardroom meetings, brainstorming sessions or enabling perpetual “war” rooms. They are a metaphor that everyone can grasp immediately and begin to engage without much of a learning curve. Let’s call them Digital Environments rather than Virtual Reality.

While you can enter the room online you can also walk in to the Digital Environment when you enter a physical room (very Inception-like) seeing content posted by others in the “room” or real-time video of the other participants as they engage and interact. Use any device to engage with the displays.

You won’t need an “avatar” just the ability to see the walls of the room and engage with the frames on the wall. Dropping in content that can be viewed and edited by all… or everyone can do a brainstorm put up post-its from any location. Fun!

This will create a need to provide a context for a new wave of applications that enable people to perform tasks across different end points — but in fun and engaging ways like they are imagining at Innovation Games.

Connected Creatives: Leveraging Open Innovation Models to Tap Into the Creative Cluster

The Creative Economy is driving the need for a greater inclusion of people who have the ability to facilitate creative thinking and who have a passion around design (entrepreneurs, designers, innovators). There’s a belief that the innovation process needs to move from a linear progression of systematic research to one of non-linear thinking and rapid prototyping. The new economy is forcing a change in the way we come up with ideas and is requiring new tools to develop, collaborate and adapt those ideas.

These new models of collaboration and innovation are enabling changes the dynamics of organizations and how next-generation leaders are looking at making it happen in their teams. Requiring them to look at how they access talent (open innovation) and the way their employees work (technology platforms) and to the policies necessary to create the right environment.

There is a lot of conversation around how to tap in to the creative cluster: leveraging the power of crowd sourcing and collective intelligence. We have seen the trend of leveraging communities for sourcing and sharing ideas and the benefits of a two way dialog with consumers (see this deck that summarizes the benefits realized by Dell, Starbucks and RadioShack)

However, tapping in to the creative community to help drive innovation is a bit different than these examples. It’s about getting creative people together not just about the generation of ideas but to think about solving problems and figuring out how to execute them. You can come up with lots of good ideas through these communities, all of them sound really cool, but if we never do any of them or they don’t deliver business results what does it matter?

The need to be more innovative and think ahead of their customer’s needs, has organizations considering open innovation: stimulating thinking by bringing in people from the outside (vendors, customers, partners, consultants, agencies and even customers) in the form of creative sessions, moving beyond the idea submissions stage to inclusion throughout the development process.

This need to change the way we execute is creating a demand for new technology platforms that connect individuals in different physical spaces: enabling greater diversity, greater ease in getting together (less travel) and therefore the ability to work in a more inclusive and iterative fashion. My colleagues in Cisco’s IBSG have developed a new way for groups to work together called the Active Collaboration Room. Imagine being able to bring together different agencies and consultants from across the globe to innovate around your next marketing campaign or product development. People can join from the connected rooms or dial in through WebEx (video conference on their desktop).

There are new models of open innovation emerging like the 5M Project in San Francisco which is a physical space that has a mix of for-profit and non-profit companies that believe that they will increase the diversity of thoughts by being co-located. Accelerating serendipitous opportunities for collaboration across disciplines. It is also exploring a models where organizations can tap in to the “creative cluster” that has formed there through the use of the remote technologies mentioned above.

We do need to be careful that we consider how we tap in to the creative cluster. Let’s figure out a model that won’t take advantage of the designers. Create mutually beneficial scenarios. It doesn’t have to be monetary compensation. Threadless as an example where people submit their designs for the thrill of seeing them on a t-shirt. There are instances where Designers will want to be part of the process because they want to contribute or feel a part of something even if money is being made as a result. In that case it’s about wanting to belong. But that will only go so far.