Open Innovation and the Design of Innovation Work

By • on May 20, 2011

I recently had the chance to review a pre-press copy of a new book, The Open Innovation Marketplace, by Alpheus Bingham and Dwayne Spradlin (Free Press, 2011).  The authors are Chairman and CEO, respectively, of the company Innocentive.   Innocentive is a pioneer in the “open innovation marketplace” that I studied in Chapter 6 of my second book, Open Business Models (HBS Press, 2006).  (Full disclosure: I am an external advisor to Innocentive).   However, the book is only partly about Innocentive.  It is more about the design of innovation work in a world of open innovation.

The book is delightfully written.  It is lucid and broad reaching, hearkening back to Greek and Roman times, yet up to the minute in the technologies, strategies and organizations of the 21st century.  It was a pleasure to read.

In the course of a decade in business, Innocentive has learned a great deal about open innovation, and how companies practice it. (One minor complaint:  the open innovation model has two parts.  The outside-in part of the model brings external ideas and technologies inside the firm.  The inside-out part of the model enables unused internal ideas and technologies to be exposed to other parties.  Innocentive is focused only on the first part of the open innovation model.)

One of the deepest insights in The Open Innovation Marketplace is that the design of work itself can change in an organization built around the concepts of open innovation.

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