Missing The Point On Innovation
from the old-school-thinking dept
Just as we were discussing the way innovation is changing drastically as it’s pushed out to the ends, rather than centralized, along comes the president of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK to say something quite different on the subject of innovation. While he makes some interesting points on how innovation has changed over the past few decades, including the growth of collaboration, he misses the point by focusing on the importance of protecting your intellectual property. It’s amusing that he says this right after he talks about the importance of collaboration in the new era of innovation. Hiding away your intellectual property doesn’t seem to fit very well with the idea that innovation needs to be more collaborative. In fact, it makes it more difficult to generate new ideas based on existing innovations and the ability to build off of what others are doing. His whole theory seems to go back to the idea of using intellectual property to create a “sustainable competitive advantage.” Once again, a sustainable competitive advantage is a myth. Anything that’s successful will be copied at some point — intellectual property or not — and the market will often benefit from it, because the competition leads to improvements. That means, the focus needs to be not on sustainable competitive advantage, but on creating a culture of innovation that means you have repeated fleeting competitive advantages, constantly pushing the market forward — benefiting everyone. The previous post here on Techdirt talked about one way that’s happening — by opening things up and letting your users innovate for you based on their own needs. It’s not about locking up intellectual property, but making it open enough to encourage rapid ongoing innovation.
Comments on “Missing The Point On Innovation”
anyone interested in learning more should read the first eight chapters of Open Innovation. Great book about this topic.