How Open Innovation Can Empower ‘Creatives’

By • on May 11, 2011

Ms. Horn raises an important issue in her article “Here’s What’s Wrong with Open Innovation – A Case for ‘Open Protection:’” how can creative people make a living in a world of “open innovation”, where the wisdom of the crowd might trump the ingenuity of the creative individual?

I actually agree with her perspective that there needs to be a continuing role for the creative individual in any robust, effective innovation system.  As the father of open innovation (according to Wikipedia), however, I think that open innovation, properly understood, can actually boost the opportunities for creative people, rather than extinguish them.

We all know the stereotype of the starving artist, who scrapes by throughout his or her life to make a living.  Occasionally, a few achieve substantial recognition and reward during their lifetime, while others only receive those accolades after their death, if ever.  And this was the social norm before open innovation became widespread.  So Ms. Horn is addressing a longstanding issue, one that existed before open innovation and may well continue as open innovation advances.

But open innovation can help address the root cause of the issue: how can creatives build strong connections to potential patrons and audiences during their working lives, and thereby elicit their support?

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Image via flickr.

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